We received a flash drive of our wedding photos. This is one of those rare occasions where I really care about the fate of computer files. I'm a programmer by trade and I've grown distant from “files” over time. I work with hundreds of tiny source files which get indexed and cloned and backed up on remote servers with histories and decentralization and so on. I don't think twice about losing anything.

Yet here I am holding 10 gigabytes of photos, and I am frightened about their future. Where can I put these that is safe? I don't particularly want to keep this flash drive around for the rest of my life. Any files on my hard drive that I care about are copied back up into the cloud, but that doesn't even seem like enough peace of mind for what these are.

I can back up the files to Google Photos, but I've been working to slowly reduce my footprint on their services. I could put them in the “deep storage” section of the cloud sync service I use, but even that seems too ephemeral for something like wedding pictures, which I'm likely going to want to look back on when I'm 70. Do I really think this cloud provider will be around 40, 50, 60 years from now?

Do I print them? Put them in a binder? That seems even more temporary. What is even “temporary” anymore? Is it better to go full digital? We haven't proven digital lifespan for common folk just yet, but on the other hand, printed photos can be lost, torn, burned, destroyed.

At least I have my memories. In the end, the photos just help bring those memories back with more accuracy. Hopefully, I can trust to hold on to those good times for quite a while yet to come.