I've been trying to figure out why I enjoy photography so much and what it actually means to me. To play basketball it's advantageous to be tall, to skate it's advantageous to be short etc. etc. I can't play basketball or skate in a halfpipe when I'm 60+ years old. In contrast, for photography all I need is a camera. Sure, it takes skill to be really good, but my photos don't have to speak to everyone. As long as they mean something to me that's enough. What I enjoy the most is looking back at photographs I've taken a few years ago. I just love that photographs are a record of light and time. Especially with film or any analog form of producing an image for that matter, I have a physical piece of the past in my hands. I just don't get the same feeling looking at digital images taken a few years back. Every time I open a file, it's being recreated on a computer screen. It's a representation of how that screen and computer interpretthe data, while a piece of slide film or a print (from a negative or digital file) is a presentation of the past. Presentation vs Representation of light and time.
My grandpa used to shoot a lot in his days. I've been trying to get a hold of his photos for the past few years. It isn't easy with my family being spread over four different countries and continents! I know that he shot a lot and I wanna see what he saw then, what interested him and how stuff looked back then through his eyes (or lens). I then suddenly realized that the only way we can ever do that is by not only having a digital catalog of our photography. Unless you print your work or shoot film and have a physical copy of your photos it will die with you.
When I shot digital, I had all my photos in Lightroom on my computer that was obviously password protected. I also had a backups online, and those were obviously protected, too. When our time is up, all this data will stay locked on hard drives or cloud accounts until the dormant accounts finally gets deleted by whatever company you hosted the data with. Unless you know when you're gonna drop, and somehow manage to share your password in time, all your photography will die with you. Imagine if Vivian Maier shot digital. Her work would've never seen the light of day. It's arguable whether she would've liked it or not, but I am trying to point out that it would've been impossible. Her photos would not have been locked up in some storage, they would've been on some hard drive or cloud service. Lost forever.
Make sure you print your work or have some sort of physical copy of it.