I read this article recently that had some impressive figures about the number of photographs that have been taken since the beginning of the new millennium. Here are some quick nuggets from the piece:
- ~ 2.5 Billion people own a digital camera today.
- If one person takes 150 photos, that equates to 375 billion photos.
- ~ 70 Billion photos will be uploaded to Facebook by the end of the year. (20% of all photos taken)
- Facebook currently has approximately 140 billion photos. Given that this article was written late last year, you can probably add at least another billion or two in there.
It’s no secret how much I love photography. You could say it’s an addiction. I love to take pictures, look at pictures, share pictures, making pictures, the whole nine yards. (But I hate being in front of the camera. Hello, irony!) My Flickr account has a ton of different pictures about my life, friends, family, adventures and weirdness I’ve found throughout my travels.
Yet as I’m reading these stats thinking about the rapid pace we’ve accepted a digital lifestyle and online social sites as our new photo repositories, it gave me one gray hair of worry thinking about what happens if these sites shut down. We can hope for some kind of warning, but it’s likely the common mindset is that sites like Facebook or Flickr will never go away. I once thought that about Kodak until I read about their Chapter 11 filing.
If these portals shut down, our memories are lost to some datacenter in the abyss that we will never have access to again. It’s commonly said that family photographs are the first things that people will try to save if their house is on fire, because they are irreplaceable. Why should this be any different when living in a digital world?
I don’t know about you, but the importance of backing up my photos just became a higher priority. A portable hard drive is so much easier to carry than a cumbersome photo album anyway. (Do they still even make those?)
So how important are your photographs?