Views and Visions: The age of digital photos Part 1

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. ever-so-slightly-(something) / ˈɛv ər soʊ ˈslaɪt lɪ / (idiom) – only to a small degree

    I love my mom’s ever-so-slightly-sweet cookies.

  2. make the cut / meɪk ðə kʌt / (idiom) – to meet the requirements or standards for something

    Peter was unprepared for the first interview, so he didn’t make the cut for the second.

  3. get (someone) wrong / gɛt rɔŋ / (idiom) – to misunderstand someone

    Please don’t get me wrong. There are problems, but overall, the project is going well.

  4. cherish / ˈtʃɛr ɪʃ / (v.) – to love someone or something dearly

    Emma cherishes that old teddy bear.

  5. ponder / ˈpɒn dər / (v.) – to think about something deeply

    I spent a lot of time pondering what to write next.


Read the text below.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the value I place on certain items.

For example, if my house were to go up in flames, which items would I try to save?

Let’s pretend that each item weighs the same and is easy to carry, but that I can pick only one thing to bring with me.

Would it be something that brings me joy, like the snowboard I bought just last year or the television that I’ve relied on to keep me entertained during the pandemic?

Or would it be something more practical, like the new and ever-so-slightly-fancy fridge my wife and I bought a couple months ago? Perhaps it would be something that is practical but also boring, like a washing machine.

There are also numerous sentimental items that might be on my shortlist.

But — thanks to digital storage — I don’t think our photographs would make the cut.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some photos of family, friends and travel experiences that I cherish, but thankfully all of them are backed up digitally.

That’s undoubtedly a good thing. I suspect if I was pondering this question 30 years ago, prized photo albums would be at or near the top of my list of items to save.

Still, despite the benefits of digital storage, I have to wonder if it has caused me to devalue something that I might have once held dear. (Joel Tansey)

To be continued…

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The author says that there are some photos of family, friends, and travel experiences that he cherishes. What photos do you cherish? Are they all backed up digitally? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What do you think are the pros and cons of keeping photos in photo albums? How about for storing photos digitally? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If your house were to go up in flames, what items would you try to save? Why? Discuss.
  • Have you ever kept unusual items for sentimental reasons (ex. a candy wrapper from your grandpa, a leaf from a fun day)? What do you think of this practice (ex. cute, a waste of space)? Discuss.