Will digital generation be able to look at pictures 50 years from now?

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March 7, 2013, 6:17 am
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(NECN/KNSD: Bob Hansen) - We are in the digital age. More people are using their smartphones to snap and store photos, but what about those good old fashioned photo albums?

The number of people getting photo prints is rapidly declining, but businesses are adjusting, too.

I'm taking pictures at the park the way most people seem to be doing it these days, with a smartphone.

"I usually use my phone just because I always have it with me."

"Because it's so much easier, a lot lighter."

But while phones are replacing traditional cameras, they are also cutting into the number of traditional prints people are making.

Do you print out those pictures?

“No."

Do you make prints anymore?

“Not very often, put 'em on the computer."

That worries people in the photo finishing business, not just because it means less money, but also because it could mean fewer memories.

"There's billions of pictures now instead of just millions of pictures," says Larry Kurtz of Nelson Photo.

"But are they getting printed?"

"No, not at all."

And a lost phone, a crashed computer, the demise of an online website, and those digital pictures could be lost forever.

Think of the family photos we can still look at from our parents and grandparents, but will this digital generation be able to look at their pictures 50 years from now?

"The number one issue that folks had with their smartphones was the ability to print," says Mark Quiroz of Hewlett-Packard.

So Hewlett-Packard and others are trying to make it easier to produce photo quality prints from smartphones. HP has their own eprint service that sends pictures from your phone to your closest photofinisher.

"There's something to the permanence of having that printed photograph that you can use that's really great. Right now the best archival is a print," says Quiroz.

Nelson photo uses an app from Lifepics to send digital photos to its store printers.

That's what I did with the pictures I took at the park. Today, the question isn't whether smartphones take good pictures but whether those pictures will be around for future generations.

"For our children, for our memories... We make scrapbooks and we keep them all in albums so we can flip through them easily."

So, do you miss having pictures in your actual hand?

"Yes I do, the hard copy."

Tags: photos, Hewlett-Packard, smart phone, KNSD, Bob Hansen, nelson photo, larry kurtz, mark quiroz, eprint
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