The email arrived in my personal inbox, mysteriously and poorly titled: “Heidi ‘s christening.” I was not sure who Heidi was, but after noting it came from my mother’s rarely used email address, I assumed it was a relation I’d heard mentioned in weekly phone calls. I clicked and there was a single image about the size of a stamp with a caption noting some grandmothers were involved.
Only I couldn’t see said grandmothers because the image was the size of a postage stamp and blurry as hell.
A second email, titled “More Heidi christening photos,” followed with even more photos of tiny, blurry figures who may or may not have been family members at the christening of a baby.
This was not the first time my mother failed to send me a photo. Usually her images are taken with her smartphone, giving her a good chance of texting them to me in a legible format. But if she’s sending me photos scanned from old slides, negatives, or photographs, I guarantee you I will not know what the content of those JPEGs are until I next visit Texas. The woman, bless her heart, does not understand file size. So she will either upload a 10GB RAW that no email server would ever try to deliver, or she will send me the smallest possible image her computer can downgrade the original photo into.
Trying to walk her through an easy way to email an image is a Sisyphean exercise in misery. Asking her to use the photo software her Macbook came with is even worse. It took two years to get her to upgrade from iPhoto to Apple Photos, and even now she rages that it can’t collect all her images into a file in the Finder than she can then drag and drop into her email.
Do not ask her to just join Dropbox, iCloud, Instagram, or Facebook to share those images either. She doesn’t give her real name at Whataburger, you think she’s going to put any part of her personal life online?
If you, too, are faced with a parent who stubbornly refuses to embrace modern methods of image sharing, here’s a tip.
Tell them to blow the image up on their computer, as biiiiiiig as they can make it. Tell them to take a picture of that image with their smartphone. Tell them to just text that image to you.
It won’t be ready for the gallery, but at least you’ll be able to determine which person is the baby and which person is the grandmother at Heidi’s christening.