WHEN we go to some friend's house, we usually look around for something to read, or to look at. Well, that what we do when we got nothing else to do, when we get bored, we try to look for something to keep us entertained; books, torn magazines and newspapers, and of course photo albums.

That’s why we have these, particularly photo albums, as an indispensable part of our living room. You know, that’s typical among us Filipinos. We love to share (more like showing off) our valued pictures to them, like photos from summer vacations, graduations, weddings, birthdays, or just plain expression of vanity.

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Many of us love taking pictures, whether it a ridiculously expensive hobby or just pure narcissism. In every occasion, we always come equipped with these snappers. We never let any part of any special event get away from the lenses of our trusty cameras.

Just a decade ago, most of our photographs are captured through film cameras, since digital ones are still very expensive back then. But with the technology we have today, one doesn’t have to go through tedious and painstaking process of printing photos out of old-school negatives. Now, everything had gone digital. Just simply insert a memory card or send the photo wirelessly to a computer, do some minor editing, hook it up to a printer, load some photo paper, then hit print.

While this should have encouraged people to print more of their digital photographs, the common trend is, many would rather store these pictures at the convenience of their computer’s hard-drives, memory cards, and flash disks.

Back in 2005, I came across with this Readers Digest article that talked about the “disadvantage’ of digital snapshots. In that article, the author was somehow saddened with the fact that digital photos now have somehow lost its value, as badly aimed, over or under-exposed or simply undesirable pictures are easily disposable, just press delete, and voila, the picture is gone faster than you could say ?cheese?.

In the process, it seemed like memories that are captured along with the picture were also gone into digital oblivion. All that is left are print-worthy pictures, which I’m also doubtful that all of them will be printed.

And I have seen so many pictures that should have been printed out. Some are simply just too precious to be just displayed in a computer screen to serve as desktop background.

However, for most part, technology also brought much convenience. LCD screens are probably the best thing happened to cameras since the introduction of colored photography. Digital cameras are also getting cheaper, with more mega pixel count for every succeeding model. Even mobile phones are equipped with cameras, thus reducing the need to bring two gadgets at the same time.

Photos can now be fixed through Photoshop and other photo-editing software. Photo-sharing and social networking sites like Flickr, Facebook, Multiply, etc. have also brought new meaning to photo albums since anyone can now view your photos online, anywhere, anytime.

Cameras are important to us as since it has become witnesses to many events in our lives, whether special or not, with photographs serve as evidence to these. Changes and new trends could be either for better or for worse, depending on how we look at it. Still, photos are not merely ordinary pictures; they are images of a moment in our lives permanently captured and worth reminiscing.