When I travelled in the late 90’s I shot a lot of slides which I had scanned to Gold CD’s (what was supposed to be the archival gold standard of the time). Last week I found the CD’s in a box whilst I was looking for some old prints and decided to have a look at my old work. I put the CD in my laptop, it whirred to life and opened perfectly. The CD ran flawlessly despite being 16 years old, I found the scanned files and tried to open one up.
That’s when the trouble started.
Photo CD (PCD) files are an obsolete format. They won’t open in Photoshop. They won’t open in Capture One. They won’t open in explorer. I hunted around the web and found a freeware program that converted the PCD files into jpegs and the day was saved. But think about this, Kodak Photo CD was defunct in 2004. 10 years later no standard program on your PC will read those files. Imagine that was your wedding. Would you want your pictures to be unreadable by your 10th anniversary?
Most families have wedding albums or prints from their parents wedding, my family still has photos from my grandparents wedding in the 40’s that their great grand children have seen. Those of use in middle age have seen cassette tapes, then floppy disks, then zip disks disappear. CD’s are on their last legs. If you want to see your precious pictures in 10, 25 or 50 years time you cannot rely on computer media to keep your images safe.
There is only one thing you can do.
Print your photos. The only way you can ensure that future generations can see pictures of you is to put them print them onto paper. It really is that simple. A portrait session or a wedding is not finished until you have a photograph or a picture in you hand. So print your pictures and preserve your memories. Don’t be left with an unreadable disk or obsolete files as your family’s visual legacy.