Thousands of memories

There was a time when photos you owned of your family and friends were scarce objects that you carefully framed or collected in albums.

Digital photography, and camera phones in particular, has changed this. The number of photos we each accumulate of family and friends, has multiplied many times over the last decades. Our computers and online accounts now hoard thousands of personal photos. Each capturing a moment of a particular place and situation.

Before, you took a picture with the intention of giving yourself the possibility of later being reminded of this exact moment. You spent time on placing the best photos in albums, so you could share and remember past moments with family and friends.

Now, we gather photos at such high rate, that we don’t have time to curate the best moments to be reminded of. We avoid curation, and shove photos into digital piles ordered by time.

Something changed. Maybe it was when the number of photos exceeded the time available for looking at them. The individual photo is no longer valued the same way as when photos were scarce objects.

In the future, how will we find opportunity to remember the past, when all we have are giant piles of photos?

Software products and online services are far from solving this problem. They show random photos from your collections, and let you share selections of photos with your online groups of friends and relatives. They try to recognise persons and places, and automatically order photos in collections. But still, none presents a compelling solution.

The market seems wide open to new products that can dive into the pile of photos, and help us find new ways to reminisce about the past.