Part I – The Lost Generation

By John Anderson

Today’s young people, the Millennials and Generation Z specifically, or anyone else who is glued to electronic devices such as phones, tablets, and even computers, are often referred to as “The Lost Generation” by members of the professional photography community. For some folks, their last printed photograph was taken during their school years, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t posing before the lens. Examination of a typical Facebook page would reveal, in many cases, hundreds of images and countless selfies, but that is as far as they are displayed.

I was already roughing out this story over the July 4th weekend, and I remember seeing a plea on The Auburn Site for a phone that was lost at the town festivities. The writer was upset because of all the potential “lost memories.” A basic question has to be: Why are precious memories being carried around in your back pocket as you engage in numerous activities?

As you read this story, I am in Africa on safari. Along with some extensive camera gear, I also have a MacBook Air with me and 2 external 480 gigabyte (GB) external solid state drives to store my photographs at the end of each game drive. Additionally, each of my cameras has 2 cards for storage, and I write photo files to both cards at the same time, essentially backing up my work as I create it. We will explore the best ways to preserve your memories in Part IV which will feature thoughts from my very computer savvy business partner Jeff LaBonte.

But first, think about the lack of images for the living generations. Many of us have a box of photographs from our family’s past. I may have more than some since my grandfather was a professional photographer in Merrill, Wisconsin from the late 1800’s until his death in 1945. He frequently photographed his seven children, often it seems, to experiment with new lighting or film. I also have some of his glass plate negatives, which he made and used during the great depression when buying film required an outlaying of cash which he didn’t have.

My father was also a prolific amateur photographer who amassed tens of thousands of 35mm slides during his life. It may now be obvious why photography has become such a huge part of my life, and I do my best to preserve those memories. But first, the memories have to be created.

In Part II, we’ll explain the basics of digital photography, and in Part III, we’ll talk about proper digital hygiene. Anyone who likes to cook knows there are certain rules for safe food preparation and storage. Raw meat and poultry is kept away from other food, and it must be cooked or frozen by the expiration date. Some basic procedures in the digital world can result in gourmet images as well.