By Steve Seepersaud
We all know the mixed blessing that comes from having a cell phone with you at all times. It's so easy to take pictures that you have more images than you know what to do with, and before long you're out of memory.
The Locket app, created by Martin Likewise '07, can help. When you open Locket, the most recent photos from the phone's camera are automatically imported into a swiping screen. It isn't Tinder, but the idea is similar. Swipe left to delete or right to save to the cloud. Additionally, you can swipe up to have photos printed at Walgreens or down to send the pic to a social media site.
"Think about it like folding laundry," Likewise said. "If you fold laundry as it comes out of the dryer, you don't end up with a heap of clothes, and then you're sifting through the pile to get the one or two items you really want. Currently, we are leaving a legacy of terabytes of photos and videos to the next generation, instead of a carefully curated set of memories. By dealing with your photos immediately, you keep photos that matter, and quickly eliminate all others. The photos are not deleted from your phone. They're only deleted from the app."
Though Locket is meant to be fun to use, the idea came from the most painful episodes in his life. He and his wife struggled to have a child, suffering several miscarriages before she became pregnant again and learned the baby had Meckel-Gruber Syndrome, a rare genetic condition. The baby could live inside the mother but would have a short life after being born. Their first baby lived for less than one hour, and their second daughter was alive for only 30 minutes.
"We had a nice camera with us in the hospital," Likewise said. "Though we had family and friends who came and also took pictures, the ones taken with our professional camera were very personal to us. Some weeks later, we had the camera in our van, and it was stolen. Why did I not save the pictures immediately? Why did I not feel like they were important enough to print out and keep safe? This was one of the first triggers that set me on the path for Locket."
Two years later, in 2017, he and his wife welcomed a son, Marty. Likewise took a tremendous amount of photos on his cell phone, transferring images to the cloud as his phone was running out of storage. Six months later, his wife asked him to send her all the pictures he had taken. He was astonished to find a significant portion of his collection had just vanished.
"This was really the final catalyst to jolt me into realizing something had seriously changed in the way we treat photography," Likewise said. "As a child, with 35mm cameras, the spools of film were almost as precious as your life savings in the bank. Such care and concern were taken to make sure each photo was taken just so, and then extra care was taken to remove the film without exposing it to the light. Nobody left those black and gray canisters sitting around! You took those in immediately for processing.
"In that, we were carefully curating our memories before the age of cell phone cameras. Grandmothers, aunts, uncles, moms and dads were creating memories and stories with each printed picture going into those sticky album books, stained with coffee, smelling of cigarette smoke and your aunt’s perfume. In that era, you could take one of those photo books out and smell the pages, you could nearly taste the desserts in the pictures, and the handwriting on the pages brought back fond memories."
The app launched late in 2022, and Likewise joined the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator to further develop his venture. His full-time profession is working as chief financial officer for the Dalrymple Construction Companies in Elmira, N.Y., where he oversees rock quarries, construction divisions and office operations in New York, Texas and Virginia. He had previously worked for the Raymond Corporation in Greene, N.Y., as a senior accountant, and taught accounting as an adjunct instructor for Binghamton's School of Management.
There is no cost to use the app; Locket makes a commission on each picture a user prints at Walgreens. Advertising will be another source of revenue for Locket.
"Oddly enough, I am not the photographer in my home. I take pictures mainly of my children and wife when we are doing things, but photography is not my hobby if you can believe it. My wife is the photographer in our house. In fact, I attribute part of the creation of Locket to her coming home one day and complaining about having thousands of pictures on her phone wishing she had this app I was always going on about."