Looking back on nearly 10 years of digital photography in my own collection, for example, my hard drive tells me that I take about five thousand photos a year on average. If I extrapolate out to an average lifespan for someone of my gender and situation then we see that at the point when I am likely to die my family will inherit roughly 200,000 photos from me. This will clearly be a different experience for them than the one I had with my grandfather’s images.
Richard Banks, The Future of Looking Back, 2011
This quote shocked me when I realized how true it is. Over 40 years, we can expect to accumulate 200,000 images. This mind-boggling number tells me that unless photos are organized when they are taken, or shortly thereafter, they will probably never be organized.
Cameras will help as they include the date and possibly location with the photo, but they will never be able to record the story that goes with each photo. Somehow we need to define which photos are important and why, either in photo books or by some other means. Without this information, we will have only a morass of uninterpretable digital files, and I don’t believe anyone wants that.