Scanning photos is fun. It allows you to rediscover images that you'd all but forgotten about. Often you can improve them, and you can certainly share them more once they're in digital format. This is all good.
But it's not all straightforward. The photo above is from a film of images shot at my student union in 1994. That's me. Photos of me are fine, I can share them without hesitation. But elsewhere in those photos are some picture of my girlfriend from the time. Probably not fair to share those - but why do I feel that way about one person, and not all the other friends in the pictures? Is it because those pictures were taken in the context of a relationship that no longer exists?
Another film that I've just scanned (the one that produced yesterday's little gem) is of a party at a friend's house – but from a period when he was still with his ex-wife. There's some gems in there, but I feel uncomfortable sharing too many of them, because of that ended, moved-on-from relationship. 10 years ago, I'd have probably shared everything without much thought as to the consequences. I've become a little more sensitive to the nuances of relationships, trust and history since then. Those historical relationships can sit tight in my personal archives, maybe never to be seen again and maybe to emerge once all the people involved are in no position to care anymore. After all, there's always some uncontroversial ones to share:
I do wonder if these sorts of scruples will seem archaic pretty soon. Today's 20-somethings are leaving the digital footsteps of their current relationships all over the web (and Facebook in particular). Maybe they'll come to regret it. Or maybe we'll all just become much more comfortable with our own pasts…