In times long ago there existed something called the photo album.  A precious book of images of you and your friends and family enjoying and celebrating important life events – holidays, weddings, graduations… and random piss ups.  

Whole afternoons could be spent deciding which photos were good enough to grace the pages of the album.  Those making it through the strict elimination rounds were placed beneath a protective film to be guarded from sticky finger smudges. Filled albums would be displayed on a shelf and sometimes special guests would be invited to view the contents over a brew and a slab of cake.  

Photo album
Hello old friend

Sadly those golden days are no more.  According to a recent study by Samsung UK, the traditional photo album is dead.  And it’s all social media and technology’s fault.   Two thirds of the UK now prefer to catalogue their pictures on computers, tablets or smartphones rather than in albums which colour co-ordinate with our living room cushions.  

I guess it makes sense.  Why wait around for photos to be processed or printed off when you can upload them to an online album with the tap of a touchscreen. Why have the number of snaps you can share restricted by the size of your flip album when you can dump the entire contents of your camera in cyberspace. And why share your pics with a selected few when you can share them with the whole world?

The study also found that only 13 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds had ever used an album, and around one in five people take photos with the intention of posting them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  10 per cent uploaded pics onto a website less than a 60 seconds after they had been shot on a smartphone – no doubt still finding time to wave an electronic blemish removing magic wand and apply a flattering filter.

Perhaps the most worrying finding of all is that a large proportion of said photos (30% among 18-24 year olds) feature the photographer, and only the photographer in the starring role!  Forget asking a stranger if they’d mind snapping your cheery family scene or your group of mates with wine glasses held aloft. All you need is a long arm, a well-executed head tilt and you’ve got yourself the perfect ‘selfie’.

So does this mean in years to come we’ll spend a bored Saturday afternoon reminiscing about good times by swiping through hundreds and hundreds of photos of ourselves on an ipad screen? Will “Ibiza tear-up 2013” and “My leathered Xmas do” ever escape from a Facebook album and onto a glossy 7x 5 inch rectangle?

It seems shame to think this could become a reality, but in a less official poll of the lovely HTC writers there were some good ideas:  

  • Promise to print off a certain number of photos every month to remind yourself of what a great bunch of people you know.
  • Take polaroids – even if you keep them in a box.
  • If albums are just too 2002 then capture those memories in a personalised photo book instead. A hardcover keepsake will look a treat on your coffee table.

Alternatively shun both the online and album option and store memories of good times where they can’t curl at the edges or be made inaccessible by a flat battery or power cut.  Keep them in your head!






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