When Photos Fade | God's World News

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When Photos Fade
Time Machine
Posted: November 01, 2023
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    This box of photo slides was passed from a father to a son. Old photos can be treasure—if you get them out of boxes and drawers. (AP/Michael Liedtke)
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    This photo shows Ed Asner with his son, Matt, and daughter, Liza, in Studio City, California, in 1963. (Nancy Asner via AP)
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    A piece of deteriorated movie film (AP/David Duprey)
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    Photo negatives, as well as printed photos, may fall apart over time. (Pixabay)
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Dig through a box in the attic. What do you find? Old photos! Most families have a box like this . . . or 10. These boxes hold many memories. But how often do people really take a look?

These days, most people have grown used to snapping instant digital images using smartphones. But just a couple decades ago, people relied on photo prints, negatives, and VHS videos to capture moments.

Over time, paper and video tapes break down. Many people are turning to companies that change physical media into digital files. (Physical media can be touched and felt. Digital media are images on screens.)

Take Ed Asner for example. You may recognize Mr. Asner’s voice from the Pixar movie Up. Mr. Asner voiced Carl. After Mr. Asner died in 2021, his son, Matt, found hundreds of undeveloped negatives and printed pictures. He decided to digitize them.

Matt now shares some of his favorite pictures of his father on social media. But he likes sending them to relatives best. That’s easy when photos are digital. It just takes a few button clicks.

“Some of these pictures haven’t been seen for 40, 50, or even 60 years,” Matt Asner marvels. “It draws you closer as a family. My dad and mom were sort of the glue for the whole family. Now these photos replace some of the glue that has gone away.”

Digital storage isn’t foolproof. Hard drives may fail. Laptops get lost. Online storage services may shut down.

Still, print photos fade. VHS tapes start to fall apart after just 10 years. Declutterers appreciate digital’s opportunity to clear space.

Remembering the past is a gift from our good God. Aren’t you looking forward to the day when nothing will fade? When Jesus returns, nothing good will ever pass away.

Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations. — Deuteronomy 32:7

Why? Photos and videos can help preserve treasured memories. But like everything else on Earth, they break down over time.