A project …


Wow!  I’ve been back on WP more than a month and look how many posts I haven’t  done!! …. Talk about a slack-arse!

I’ve not been flitting around the world;  there’s been no overtime at work;  I have not taken up a hobby or expanded the ones I already have and I haven’t started any projects that would eat up my time.  The manservant hasn’t done much traveling though.

And now, I am about to start a project which has finally progressed out of the “thinking about”  stage.   A couple of years ago I shipped a *lot* of photos from Australia with the intention of scanning them all before anything happened to them or they were lost. (A couple of years?  I didn’t realize it was  *3* years until I went back to that old post!).  Upon arrival I unpacked one box because it was ripped and the albums were falling out – I put those albums on a dining room chair:IMG_0231

Since coming to live with me the two other 25kg FedEx boxes (that’s 55 lbs per box)  have been sitting in the lounge-room where they sort of became invisible after the first year.   IMG_0229

Whenever I did notice them the thought of the job ahead seemed a little daunting and I could never quite get myself to make a plan to actually start – until about 2 months ago, when I sat and thought about folders and titles and labeling and disc space.  And storage.   When I brought up the subject of storage the manservant said “Won’t  you just throw them away?  Once you have them digitized you won’t need the photos”  …..   God – that would make me feel physically sick;  throwing away a photo?  I would be incapable of doing that.

But I have a plan.   I’m going to have to remove photos from the album pages to scan them.  After scanning  I’m going to write on the back of each photo – who, what, where, when – and then place them in archival boxes I’ve bought (but haven’t unpacked yet).   A box so huge the manservant had to rent a car to get it home from his office where I’d had it delivered!IMG_0224

After I’ve completed the albums I have many more hundreds of photos loose and in photo-boxes spread around the house.    Jane has most of our childhood photos/slides but I’ve been a prolific photographer since I was about 18 – so that’s  32 years worth of “film photos” minus those taken in 1976-77 which my ex-husband threw away in a spiteful fit before I could get them out of the house.  But, that’s a whole other story as they say ….

After I’ve completed this mammoth task and have all the photos neatly labeled in archival boxes I will be looking for empty shelves ….  I feel a clean-up coming on then:   IMG_0234


22 responses

  1. This is fantastic! I have zillions of photos….many of which are making their way into photo scrapbooks. It’s really fun, but I am not as self-motivated as I would like to be.
    One step at a time!

    • Quite often in movies you see a character with only a shoebox or cashbox of photos and that makes me a little sad. On the other hand it would make moving about easy – there’s no way I’d be able to pack mine into a car and just drive off …

  2. Maybe some of us should get together for a Scanning Weekend. I have a pile of old photos that my kids found when we were cleaning up the living room after my mother died. Of course, my room became the repository for them, with the understanding that I was going to scan them all and organize them. (“Aren’t you the professional?” I asked my older daughter. “Isn’t scanning, Photoshopping, and putting digitized images online your line of work?” She just laughed and walked away.)

    I don’t know if I want to spend money on an archival box: We have so many boxes of stuff around here, I hate adding another to the pile. Like you, however, I don’t think I could ever throw a photo away. What if the internet dies someday and all those digital photos get sucked into the void? How will my descendants remember me then? 😀

    • I think that packing the photos into boxes is going to take up less space than the “jumbo” albums they are in. They are specifically for photos & have metal edge sides so they can be stacked without crumpling. There’s a lot of junk on the top of that shelving unit which can be thrown out and I think (hope!!) they will fit up there – those shelves are really deep.

      LOL @ your daughter. Doing something for money is very different to doing something for mum….

  3. That’s a brilliant idea Emjay. My father is doing something similar with their old photos, some going back to the beginning of the 1900s! It is keeping them occupied and it’s a good idea to do it while he remembers who is in them. He brought a whole pile up the other weekend fro me to go through and put rough dates/people’s names on. I really enjoyed it.

    • Tonight I was looking at some of the photos trying to remember names of people. I’ve been pretty good at writing who, what, where & when in the albums but a lot of the loose photos are not so well labelled – a lot of them are people who I might’ve worked with or came across socially occasionally rather than good friends & family. It’s a good thing I’m doing this now before my memory deteriorates more 🙂

      My sister did all the really old family ones – our mother has a terrific memory for who people were.

  4. Good luck! That really is a daunting task which I also have ahead for me. For now I can still push the thought away because all the pictures are still in storage and probably won’t come out for a very long time.
    Not sure I will deal with the slides yet….

    • There were 1,000s of slides that my grandfather had taken and which my sister Jane scanned. I’m glad I wasn’t tasked with that job or family members would still be waiting for their memory stick! Doing my own photos is going to be a big enough job.

  5. Wow! That is an enormous undertaking. Good luck. But how rewarding. Hope you share some of them with us.

    Glad to see that you are still blogging. I was AWL for awhile, but I’m trying to make a come-back. I couldn’t get the computer to open WordPress for weeks, and I got out of the habit.

  6. I would look for any available excuse to avoid doing this project. I would try to convince myself that if the photographs didn’t get lost on the trip from Australia to the U.S., then they probably wouldn’t ever get lost. I would use the freed-up time to drink some beers or read a book.

    But that’s me and I get very bored with scanning. As a reader of your blog, I’m excited about the project and hope you’ll post some scanned highlights on occasion.

    • LOL – that is excellent reasoning…. At a dinner I once sat next to a scientist whose field was studying tidal patterns across the globe & he told me many containers are lost off ships every day. Fearing that fate for my photos I brought them here by FedEx and only had to worry about a couple of flights – not many FedEx planes have gone down.

      Yes scanning is indeed boring. It takes anywhere from 90 seconds to 120 seconds for my machine to scan a photo depending on the dpi selected. After only a few photos I made a decision that only “good” shots get the high resolution scan (120 sec) and others that I’m just scanning to have a copy will be rushed through in low res (30 sec).

  7. Your children will really appreciate what you are doing. Too many of my old photographs and slides have been eaten up by mould, and the portraits I inherited from my Mum have no names of the people written on the back.

    • It can be both frustrating & depressing when there is no-one left to ask about photos that have nothing written on their back. I wonder if some of your mouldy photos can still be restored? Archivists can do some pretty clever restorations – I guess it would be expensive though.

      I hope the children will appreciate it GOF. I intend to put the images onto memory sticks for them.

      • A lot of my old transparencies have gone to God….fungus rings eaten away all the colour completely.
        Children seem to appreciate old images once they get past that ‘everything revolves around me’ phase in their twenties. 🙂

        • Oh, that’s a shame about your slides – it’s probably hard to avoid mould/fungus where you live. My grandfather’s slides survived because they lived in the central west of NSW – nice & dry! It’s a wonder they didn’t crinkle up in the heat.

          I sent a 1983 photo of my sister to her today which she put up on WP and my daughter saw it and sent an email: “I love old photos, when you get up to the ones of me and the boys can you please send them to me:” So, although she is out of the everything revolves around me phase, it still does! 🙂

  8. sounds like 2013 is going to be a creative time for you, which is a wonderful way to live life. Perhaps a photo or three might be shared with us as well?
    The librarian part of me jumped for joy on reading your “classification and archival” plans – go girl! Do not throw away – technology changes, I mean who can access a floppy disc these days or a 78 record? Hard copy photos are forever. Hit the manservant for suggesting throwing them away!

    • Today I was thinking about changes that happen in technology…. I’m going to put the scanned images onto memory sticks for the kids – but I wonder how long before they are replaced by something else. I suppose there will always be an enterprising business who will “convert” old medium into new like companies that put video tapes onto DVD’s etc. I remember when laptops stopped being made with a floppy disc drive – I had a drawerful of floppy discs that were backups. One day I might have a cupboard full of external hard-drives full of all these photos.

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