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When was the last time you took a photo? We’ll bet you’ve taken at least one in the last 24 hours. After all, with everyone carrying portable cameras in their pockets, courtesy of their smartphones, documenting both special and everyday moments have become infinitely easier—and keeping these memories close even more so, because you can just pull up a photo with a click.

But while we continue to add to the millions of images online, many ask: Are we really making these memories last? Aren’t they more of bits that make up our phone’s or computer’s X-gigabyte memory?

Some argue that keeping photos in the digital sphere saves not only physical storage space but also their lifespan, as there is no threat of their getting torn, discolored, or even burned. But files can get corrupted, disorganized, and even deleted, especially with technology progressing exponentially. When our gadgets get outdated and social media eventually wiped off the Internet, what then, of our digital memories?

When these memories are made material, the act of looking back takes on more meaning. Imagine the surge of emotions that come with the mental return to a once-forgotten time through an old photograph. The feeling grows tenfold when you offer these to a loved one, because they’re tangible reminders of times spent together.

Think about it: Tag someone in a photo, but no matter how special it is, it will eventually get dumped with the rest of the images in their photo stream. But give a printed copy of it to them—in an album, in a frame, or even enclosed inside a locket—and it becomes a treasure.

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