Photo Books Versus the Digital Photo Frame

Digital Photo Frames, for example, do little but mimic the physical equivalent, showing one image after another without drawing on the rich interactivity, context, and storytelling capacity that could be available to them because of their content.

Richard Banks, Microsoft Research Cambridge, The Future of Looking Back, 2011

Digital photo frames are easy to use. Simply take your memory card and insert it into the frame. Voila, your photos will appear nicely framed, one after the other.

Yet, photo frames fail in the most basic of requirements. They give no information. They don’t tell you when or where a photo was taken, and they certainly don’t tell what you were thinking or feeling.

Only photo books provide context. That is, photo books offer the space and capability to tell the whole story. Photo books answer the questions who, what, when, where, why, and how. Photo books include the emotions that are lost when an image is displayed electronically on a digital screen.

Photo Books are also permanent, unlike digital memory which has an expected lifetime of five to ten years, and photo books are green.  Photo books, not digital photo frames, are the future.

Note: In order to take the photo that accompanies this article, I had to completely disassemble the photo frame to recover the memory card that had been inserted sideways into the memory slot and had fallen inside the digital photo frame. I wonder how many people would go this effort, or would they just give up and discard the photo frame as defective?


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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1 Response to Photo Books Versus the Digital Photo Frame

  1. Pingback: Purposeful Photo Prints « All About Images Blog

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