The Last Photo Album?

on October 27, 2016 in collections, Film & Books, pictures

img_6109I have a lot of photo albums. Scouting photo albums, that is. Most of them include pictures of troop meetings, weekend outings, summer camps, and courts of honor. There are also albums of the trips to Philmont Scout Ranch, the High Knoll Trail, and the 2001 National Jamboree. In total, there are 39 albums of Boy Scout Troop 68, covering activities from the mid 1970’s through this year.

The reason I am posting about this is because I just finished putting the last photograph in the 39th album this week. This brings me up to May 2016, the troop’s Camp Watchamagumee outing. It is time to start another album. Or is it?

As I was placing photos into the page sleeves I began thinking to myself, maybe this should be the last photo album I create of troop functions. After all, the only time they get viewed in when I use them for in displays for Scout Week in February or at one of the troop’s meal fundraisers.

I also began thinking about the cost of each album, not just the book but also the cost of printing the pictures. Each finished album runs about $40-$50 by the time it is done. When you stop to think about it, I have a lot invested in these albums.

Then I thought of a third point. Most people, including myself, are more into looking at photos on their phones and tablets than they are to picking up an physical album. That was the main reason I bought an iPad. Not to play games but to carry my photos with me. Add to this that we all share digital photos so easily these days it begins to make little sense to create physical photo albums.

Finally, what is going to happen to all these albums when I am done with Scouting? No one is going to want them. Our troop does not have its own hut or building. (We meet in a school gym for meetings.) The only place that may want the books is our local historical museum. Yeah, they would probably love to have over 36 years of local Scouting history to add to their collection.

So there it is. In this digital age I really do not see a reason to create any more Scouting photo albums for Troop 68. What do you think? Am I wrong for thinking this way?

4 Responses to “The Last Photo Album?”

  1. Phil Westover says:

    I’ve wondered about the same thing, even related to my own Scouting memorabilia. In my case, if I wanted to “go digital” I would have to scan most of the images. (My unbroken registration in Scouting begins when I became a Cub Scout in 1958!)
    But you are correct in my opinion: Who will keep the books? Who will bring them out for display (and why)? It seems like the work it takes to develop books such as yours will not pay back in the long run. But I do believe that with digital media, content can and more likely will be used down the line.
    I know your first question was “Should I start the next book?” I recommend “no,” but I do recommend you digitize whatever you think will help future leaders know your troop’s culture/history, etc.

  2. Thad Ortman says:

    You can certainly scan all the pictures if you want or you can do something easier – take a picture of them with your phone camera or digital camera. You can then sort them as you wish and it’s free, except for your time.

  3. Alan Percy says:

    Our troop is now old enough that we’re starting to have some of the earliest members “gone home” and now wishing we had been more organized with photographs from the late 70’s. Which makes you think about whether photos on Facebook or other digital media will be available 30 or 40 years from now?

  4. Wesley says:

    You have an unique history that’s invaluable.
    AOL was done, Yahoo was sold, MS Skydrive gone, Google Picasa as well.. you see, in tech age, most people in fast food consumption, it seems easy and last forever, turn out if you don’t follow up and you lost it in a blink. Our Troop has 15+ years, the early 2011 photos already gone due to ISP changing merging disappearing. Hard disk crash could also ruin all your collection. For storage, archive online and offline (perfect job for Historian). You may stop the hard print from now on if that’s a burden. Do continue to your Troop’s legacy.

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