Capture the moment, print the proof

Isabel Vayser, Opinions Editor

 Sometimes my mom will venture into the basement in hopes of finding memorabilia from her youth. The shelves are stacked to the brim with dusty boxes overflowing with stories for me to discover and memories for her to rediscover. Of the many stored artifacts, she comes across a multicolored album with a shabby chic floral pattern labeled “Sr. Prom ‘94” in gold puffy paint. 

In the faded album, there’s a polaroid of my mom and her high school boyfriend leaning against a lacquered white piano. She’s wearing a cherry halter dress and her dapper date is in a tuxedo with a matching red boutonniere tucked into his lapel. The yellowing snapshot seems to perfectly encapsulate the moment, their smiles everlasting. As I inspect the fraying memento, a question strikes my mind with absolute alarm. 

How will I show my children my senior prom date?

When we take pictures, they immediately float off into the ever so mythical “cloud.” The photos I took just a year ago take a considerable amount of scrolling to find. Just imagine how much scrolling it will take to encounter them years from now. 

Even then, there is minimal security in my digital photos. Storage runs out and computers crash. Maybe printed photos aren’t any more reliable. You could lose the album they were stored in and with it your proof of existence. But technology can be much more unpredictable — you could drop your phone in a pool and realize that you haven’t backed it up inmonths. At that point, no amount of rice will save the memories stored in your photos. 

Our camera rolls are an accumulation of insignificant pictures embellished with Snapchat filters and bursts taken by friends when our phones are left unattended. Our storages are constantly littered with screenshots of text conversations and memes. Don’t get me wrong, I love sending and receiving memes. In fact, it’s fun to look back on the seemingly insignificant and ordinary moments to see how I felt on any given day. But among the disarray, tangibility is lost. 

My most cherished photos are drifting away in a sea of disorder. 

Over the course of my life, I have watched the world become accustomed to having information readily available at the tap of a screen. My beloved Nintendo DS suddenly became uncool when my friends began to sport iPod Touches. And soon enough, my new iPod Touch became old as the iPhone made its debut. But as technology evolved, so did we. I’ve never had to search my basement to show someone what I wore to a dance or who my date was. And due to our need for efficiency, the world has shifted to digital photos, so I probably never will. 

I want to print my proof.  

I want to hold a picture in my hand with a memory captured on it — it’s simply more powerful than its digital alternative. I want to be able to recall the essence of a moment. I want to preserve the polaroids taken with my trendy Instax camera so that I can later stumble upon them as keepsakes. I want to shuffle through stacks of photos and reminisce with my high school friends over Sunday brunch in the city. I want to pull a withering box off of a dusty shelf and illustrate my past to my children. 

I must print my proof.