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The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - Family Life -

HERE PROB­A­BLY isn’t a sin­gle Jewish house with­out piles of fam­ily pho­tos and home movies, scat­tered in old yel­low­ing fold­ers and dusty photo al­bums. Nowa­days peo­ple hardly print pho­tos, not to men­tion en­joy the old ones. In an age of in­stant snap­shots and on­line shar­ing, those mem­o­ries we col­lected from 30, 40 or 50 years ago are left be­hind, as if out of con­text. Could the fam­ily photo al­bum be dead?

I asked my­self the same ques­tion while do­ing my Masters in Dig­i­tal An­thro­pol­ogy at UCL and de­cided to go on a quest af­ter the fu­ture of fam­ily mem­o­ries in the age of Face­book and iPhones.

I in­ves­ti­gated the cul­ture of stor­ing pho­tos by fo­cus­ing on JewishIs­raeli fam­i­lies liv­ing in Lon­don and ask­ing how tra­di­tions are chal­lenged with the ar­rival of dig­i­tal

SUM­MER 2013 cam­eras and cam­er­a­phones.

In­ter­view­ing fam­i­lies showed that the con­tem­po­rary Jewish house­hold tends to doc­u­ment daily and spon­ta­neous mo­ments. It was hard for in­ter­vie­wees to define what makes them take a snap­shot; it varies from a re­laxed week­end af­ter­noon to a grand bar­mitz­vah. This is in con­trast to the olden days, when cam­eras were used more for­mally, on im­por­tant oc­ca­sions or hol­i­days. This shift, brought by the un­lim­ited stor­age in mem­ory cards, has a cru­cial in­flu­ence on how we cat­e­gorise our fam­ily pho­tos in dig­i­tal fold­ers.

Many fam­i­lies first try to or­gan­ise their pho­tos when it comes to an im­por­tant event such as wed­ding or bar­mitz­vah, with the aim of screen­ing a nos­tal­gic slideshow. It is only then that they are faced with the mess they have ac­cu­mu­lated on dif­fer­ent de­vices — and up in the at­tic, where the records of their pre-dig­i­tal years are slowly de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. How can fam­i­lies over­come this and pre­serve their pho­tos?

Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies of­fer many stor­age op­tions, which can be con­fus­ing. Dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies have dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions of the “safest” place for their pho­tos. A fa­ther who is liv­ing in Lon­don with his young fam­ily told me he doesn’t trust the fickle dig­i­tal land­scape

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