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Our first granddaughter was born at the end of July. In September we all went off on holiday to Spain. She wasn’t yet six weeks old when she took her first flight. By the time they were 18, my children had already traveled more than I had when I had that age. Car, bus, tram, train, boat and plane. Now you fly when you’re a newborn baby. Who knows, she may even travel in space!
In Spain, we hired a villa and, of course, the baby was the center of attention. Whether she was sleeping, moving about, being fed or washed, she was surrounded by four adults. Real paparazzi, we were. My wife with a Sony video camera, a device with a foldaway color LCD screen and miniDV cassettes. I had a Nikon Coolpix camera in my hand, a device with a built-in zoom lens and a small flash memory card. And my daughter stood next to me with her smartphone. Her photos are stored in the cloud.
It occurred to me that these pictures are no longer printed. So where are they stored? And how do we find them when we want them? What if the disk on my laptop crashes? Then I lose everything! What if the cloud provider stops offering the service? Or my daughter changes smartphone provider? Will we make an album or not? And what about the videos? Will we still be able to play these cassettes in 30 years’ time?
Then I thought about the albums of my children and of myself. We don’t look at them anymore. And the original negatives are in a box somewhere in the attic. If I wanted a new print of a photo, it would take me at least a day to find it. And we can’t watch the VHS cassettes from the past anymore, because we no longer even have a VHS player.
In fact, the pictures themselves are no longer so important. They fade in your memory and in the album. A place in your heart, that’s what counts. That I can hold her in my heart and vice versa. But then, we knew that already – that we can say it to one another, and that it stays that way. Then I took another photo. She’ll get that soft toy later on. And the photo, well, with a bit of luck she’ll see it again at her wedding.
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