Old Photo Formats
My childhood is on slides. I remembered this as I cleaned out my parents’ home in 2015.
My mother had unexpectedly died in 1994, and my father stayed in the only home they ever purchased for another 20 years. I spent most of 2014 in that home taking care of him in his last days.
It amazed me at how much hadn’t changed – kitchen utensils, blankets, and many other everyday items were all where they had been when I left for college in 1975.
After my mother passed, the house filled up with computer parts, gadgets, and other nifty things my father, a retired Professional Engineer, found entertaining. But in 2011 he ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, and I traveled home to take care of him. I had to navigate through each room in the house by walking a cow path through the knee-high piles of junk. That brush with his own mortality inspired him to hire help and get the junk count down, and although they made great progress, there was still a lot of stuff to go through after he died.
I discovered the boxes of slides in the closet of my old bedroom. Boxes and boxes and boxes.
As I packed them up to take to my home, I remembered when my father purchased a slide projector and screen as a Christmas present for my mother. She had lain down the rule that gifts were not to have motors, but he couldn’t resist. He put my sister and me to work hiding 20 five-dollar bills throughout the components in the box. That was supposed to guarantee his forgiveness, but I don’t remember whether it did.
I wasn’t even looking at the slides, and yet, they were summoning memories.
lack of photo management Continues
Things aren’t so different for my daughter, now grown. Only her childhood is not on slides—it’s on videotape. The first four years are, anyway. Then I discovered scrapbooking, and I reverted to taking photographs of her activities so I could create scrapbooks with them. I wanted her to be able to revisit her childhood from a different perspective as she grew up, and even later, maybe when she had children of her own.
I don’t have any grandchildren yet, but if I did, their lives would be captured in digital photos. They might be printed, or not. Depending on their ages, they might be on floppy disks or CDs or Facebook.
Technology Has Changed
One problem today is that technology has changed so much and so fast, and because of that, we need photo management more than ever. If you are over a certain age, you likely have printed photos, digital photos, slides, videotapes, DVDs, and more. Like me, you may have inherited photos from your own childhood, or even generations before.
We are drowning in a sea of photo memories, and except for printed photos, if we know where they are and if they are organized, we often can no longer access those memories. They take up a lot of space, and we’re pretty sure our kids don’t want them. Sometimes we’re VERY sure our kids don’t want them!
But I don’t think it’s the memories they are rejecting as much as the physical stuff. They don’t want the boxes or even the albums or scrapbooks when they are so used to a more minimalist way of viewing memories – scrolling through photos on their phones.
Why We Take Pictures
When I attended my first scrapbooking class in 1994, it reminded me how important printed photos are, and I returned to still-photo taking. When, just a few weeks later, I had to go through my parents’ bags of photos to create something for my mother’s memorial service, so many of the photos of her later life were meaningless to me because there was nothing written on the back. I was overwhelmed with the task.
When we take pictures, we usually have a reason:
- to remember things like important people and events,
- to share something that means something to us – the picture is actually for the benefit of others,
- or to record something beautiful or notable, something that touched us in some way.
We don’t mean to leave them in the developing envelope, the box, the disc, or even the phone or computer to lie unseen and unappreciated. In the moment, our reason is important, but the less we revisit those photos, the less we remember the reason.
I believe in the power of photographs, as the old Creative Memories mission used to say, to preserve the past, enrich the present, and inspire hope for the future. And that’s why I became a Professional Photo Manager. I want to help people reconnect with their memories and to preserve and pass on their traditions and history. And I want to bring all those photo memories into the current century, using current technology, so they can get in front of the very people they are meant to inspire.
So I Started a Photo Management Blog
So many people are doing nothing with their photo and memory collections. I started this blog so I can reach more people, help more people, and ensure that precious memories are saved from the ravages of time, changes in technology, and even the decluttering whims of millennials.
With this blog I hope to:
- Provide helpful tips and information
- Review products and make recommendations
- Share important photo industry news
- And, most important, to connect with you, my readers
And so if your childhood is also on slides (or videotape or Super8 or whatever) we can get through this together. Here’s how you can get started.
Let’s connect right now! Please comment below and tell me about your childhood photos and what format they are in. Tell me your plans for them and if you’re having any struggles around them.
Need help managing your photo memory collection? Join my Family Photo Keeper’s Community and you’ll get all the help you need even if you don’t know where to start (or you’ve started and stopped many times before).
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