What do you love most about your life?
The places you have been…
The sunsets you have seen…
The smiles of strangers and oh so familiar grins of your family…
Photographs reflect the memories that tie our lives together. They are the parties, the vacations, the first kiss and the last days They are the moments that live in our hearts and stir our souls. They define us. Both in our work, and in our professions….
But too often, we get caught up in the technology of photography…the race for more megapixels and faster lenses. We don’t stop to embrace our families and friends and find ways to share the photographs of our lives in meaningful ways.
But you know what? All those pictures, those moments, those special times that define us are completely worthless if you can’t find them.
Everyone needs to make sure the pictures that matter in you life can be found quickly and easily. And they better be safe and backed up. We owe this to ourselves, and to the people we love. I know I am guilty of taking the easy road sometimes with my pictures. Forgetting to rename or add keywords when I ingest files. We all do it. It’s like flossing… you know you should… you just forget sometimes.
The same things go for our photographs. Sometimes, we just don’t take the time to set ourselves up for success. Oh we all have our own MacGyver solutions… This piece of software and this drive and that drive and this cloud and that cloud. If it works, keep going. If it doesn’t, then call me! But can you find the pictures from your vacation to the Grand Canyon 2 years ago? Where are they? What computer, what drive… How long is this gonna take!?
So light of recent tragic world events, and the impending emotions and wonder of the holidays, I decided to take my “hit by a bus” test and see where I would be if anything happened to me today. Would my family find all the pictures that matter in our lives? Would my professional legacy be preserved? Would the defining moments of my life be shared with the ones I love?
(And before any of you think this is a morbid exercise, think about why you have life insurance, or homeowner’s insurance. We never ever expect the worst to happen, but if it does, your family is secure. We cannot predict the future.)
So here goes. 5 pictures that define parts of my life. Seminal moments that I will always remember. Its part of my history and my life, and I found them in moments.
So the reality. I have been to 70 countries in my life and seen lots and lots of crazy things covering the world. I have over 2 million digital files and slides on various drives and stuck in boxes in storage. But I have a tapestry of about 1000 images that define me. The who, what and where of my life. The images that I want my family to have. These images mean so much to me.
So can you find your best, your defining, most personal moments? Are they organized, are they on all your devices? Are they with you all the time? Mine are. And I can put my hands on them in seconds. They are on my computer at home, the laptop I travel with, on my iPad and my iPhone. They are on my Windows Surface at the office and on a separate drive at my mom’s house in Virginia, and a NAS at my home. And I just do all this with a few quick actions and I am done.
Please please please take some time this holiday season to reflect on your lives, pray for peace, do good for others, and find the pictures that define your life and share them with your family.
Kevin Gilbert is a 30 year photojournalist, entrepreneur, teacher, Panasonic Lumix Luminary, and the memory evangelist at Mylio, a Bellevue, WA software company building products to help us all find our pictures, make them safe, and have they with you all the time. Keep an eye out for his Inspirational Interview with Mia McCormick releasing tomorrow at KelbyOne.com!