To the plastic bin tote I went. Yes, this is where it was. I had accumulated so much over the years that there were no longer room on bookshelves to hold them so they all went into the bin totes.
What's in the totes, you ask? Remember photo albums? Yes, actual printed photos you hold in your hands. The pictures we printed, held & admired for days at the memory of the shot taken. The anticipation of how that shot would look when taken had to be held until the final day the pictures were picked up at the photo processing store. Sometimes you were pleasantly surprised, but more often than thought, (at least in my case), would be left a little disappointed that maybe the auto-flash on the camera didn't work right in that setting or yet, worked too well so that there was too much of a light flash around your subject. Or the dreaded disappointment that maybe the anticipated picture never even took & there you are with a blank, black 4x6" of glossy paper in your hand to show for your efforts.
My love of looking at pictures goes back as far as I can remember. My grandmother always carried a handful of pictures in her purse to share with the family the next time she'd visit. Often than not, these were loose pictures she carried. No mini-photo albums, not sorted. Maybe in an envelope. There were different sized pictures she'd carry to brag about when showing that were sent to her.
People took pictures with a real camera. Took them to be developed (unless you were really high-tech & used a Polaroid. Instant development!). Then they'd also maybe take a little time to write a message on the back of the printed photo, along with a handwritten note, to address to you & mail that you might get in a few days. Your mail could be enlightened to see the picture of your loved one on their latest vacation or maybe the grand-kids' latest school activity. Often school pictures of your little tyke were shared in this way with family & friends.
As in my case, not only did I love to look at pictures, I loved taking pictures. Hence, there became my next step. Albums. In the case of Grandma carrying loose pictures & sharing the pictures off great-relatives pictures that were kept in metal cookie tins, I determined to keep my pictures in albums. I could almost remember which particular picture was in a particular album for quick look-see. However, reality sets in when one gets ready to move & box up items. Albums. Lots of albums!
In the digital age, we no longer have to worry about physical space or clutter of all & every picture we take or keep. Instantly can preview a picture to see if it's to our liking, deleting if it's not. Editing along the way & adding scrapbook-like features without all the extra messy, time-consuming artsy-crafty hands-on experience. Share instantly with friends & family on social media so anyone can see or screen-shot your photos to their own device immediately so they can show to their friends/family. No personal mail with an individual's handwriting to remember them by.
Yes, I still get printed copies of my pictures. Force of habit, I suppose (& fears that the "cloud" could delete my life's pictures). However, I no longer have to go to my local photo shop where we could only wait one hour to get a roll developed. I preview on my digital camera, upload it to my favorite picture site where they can hold all my digital albums. I can have the date set on my camera so the pictures are dated. If one takes the time, you can also type in the description of your pictures so that they will print it on the back for you. All done & delivered to your mailbox.
However, actual albums are scarcer to find in your local stores these days. Scarcer is shelf-space for years worth of pictures. The albums were moved into plastic bins for storage. Now I find myself having prints stored in bins without being in albums. Just like in Grandma & Great-grandma's days!
(photo purchased from Fotolia)