created in partnership with Fujifilm

A Case For Bringing Back The Physical Photo Album

I currently have 61,558 photos on my phone. This isn’t an exaggeration. 
These 61,558 photos, videos and screenshots make up my every memory and experience since 2016. Some have ‘made it to the grid’, but the majority sit in the elusive Apple iCloud, gathering digital dust. 
Taking my memories off my phone is one of those things on my to-do list that’s constantly pushed down. It sits there amongst taking old clothes to the Op Shop and clearing out ‘that’ drawer (you know the one). 
But now, I really need to figure it out. 
Like some sort of sci-fi horror story, I’ve intermittently been receiving the dreaded ‘This phone hasn’t been backed up to the iCloud in 95 days’ notification that makes my stomach drop. Yep. I’m out of storage. 
I swat the notification away like a fly in the heat. It reminds me there’s yet another thing I haven’t completed. But, I do feel a sense of dread over what might happen to the pictures and videos that haven’t been backed up. If my phone is broken or stolen, they’re just gone… into the digital ether forever. 
I could pay for more storage but I’m definitely paying Apple enough every month, thank you very much. Plus, it should really be the motivation I need to finally clear out my digital photo album. 
The other month I went to my parent’s house. They’d just cleared out their storage shed and found a huge container filled with physical photo albums. It’s no coincidence that these albums stopped around 2011. 
But sitting down and flicking through the colourful photo album (that I’d clearly chosen at the age of ten) felt nostalgic. There was no screen, no time stamp or metadata, just a physical print of a decade-old memory. 
As my fingers ran over the plastic covers, I tried to remember the names of the girls I went to primary school with, as obviously there was no tag to help me. The pictures jogged memories I thought I’d lost as I sat flicking through my life so far, until my tea went cold. I don’t do that on my phone. 
Scrolling a photo album on your phone, while once wildly futuristic and useful has now become a chore. 
If our banking, work, grocery lists, maps and emails are all on our phones, then of course browsing old memories isn’t the nicest experience.
All of this is to say that we should bring back physical photo albums. Of course, we can still take pictures with smartphones, but smartphone printers like the INSTAX Link series by Fujifilm mean that you can take a pic on your phone and have a physical copy in seconds, 15 to be exact.
The printers use bluetooth to connect to your smartphone. Simply pop in some film, open the INSTAX app and send images to the small printer. You can also print photos you've previously taken pics of. Then, you’ll have a physical photo to build your own albums with. 
Technology is incredible and smartphones have revolutionised our lives, but some things are just better in the real world – in the physical.
So, the next time I see that pesky ‘Your storage is full’ notification, I’ll nab a printer and get to work rescuing my photos from my phone. Promise.
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