Sunday, June 3, 2012

Picture This - The Beginning

It's a daunting task. For those of you who have accumulated mountains of photos during the last half century and stored them in boxes, you know what I mean. It's now or never. Time to organize. Oh, I have albums too, lots of them. Many of those, either have pictures missing or photos that have faded  from the old style acidic pages. So, where to start?

I have sorted before. It's difficult to do. In fact, it's impossible to do without enjoying and reminiscing about each picture which passes through one's hands. The important thing is to be realistic about a time frame. If you have a trunk full of photos, don't expect to get them sorted in one day. It's a long term project. I have started. I am now giving myself a month but can go to six weeks if necessary. There are obviously other things which also demand our attention each day. At the end of that time, I hope to be downsized and organized enough to eventually start on a few major albums. As I've mentioned before, I want to complete a family history, plus a book for each of my adult children. We'll see how I progress.

During previous sortings, I came to the realization that it's not necessary or possible to save everything. There was a time, where a second, even third set of pictures was offered for a small processing fee. Unfortunately, many of us accepted that option which now adds to our chaos and clutter. In my downsizing, I have seen too many photos of blurry people, odd body parts and strange places. In fact, I've seen some in triplicate. They are now in the trash. Photos containing people I don't recognize are sadly also in the garbage. Pictures of scenery or those which show family members in an unflattering pose have been discarded. Finally, the acidic albums are gone. I was able to save some but not all of the disappearing pictures which were gummed to the pages.

Then, there are the slides. I have finally found a portion of my life story which had been missing. It's in the form of slides. So far, I have considerably reduced the numbers of slides. After locating an old slide viewer, I managed to go through, remove and dispose of all the images containing roads, waterfalls, mountains, beaches, rocks, flowers, palm trees, resorts, tents...scenery. If I want to see those things, I'll look at pictures on google. I have set aside 150 slides which contain family members and I will report back when I figure out what to do with those. I think I recently saw an offer from Black's...slides and negatives put on a cd. Then I could make a few prints or collages, because after all, for how much longer will we have the technology to be able to view cd's?

All negatives have been boxed and labelled. I will not throw those out just yet since I know that there are some negatives which I may still want. Will I ever actually look through them all? We'll see. When I finally do toss them out, I'll feel extremely accomplished, liberated and satisfied.

Finally, the photos. For my purposes, I have decided to organize them into people, important events, and themes. I have difficulty with "chronological" order so I will use these themes to create my albums combining photos of all types, current and older.

Here's an example of one page which I have almost completed. My son has experimented with many colours and styles of coiffs over the years, so have entitled it, "Hair". For fun, I've included some lyrics from the musical, "Hair". The page, when completed will go into his album. By using this method, a lot of photos are included in a small space.

To any younger person just beginning the photography cycle, I have a recommendation. If you have photos on USB ports, on the computer, on camera cards, on your cell phone or on any other piece of technology, print one photo of each major event in your life. Go for a larger picture 5x7 or so. You'll appreciate it in your old age. Be sure to label it with the date, the names of any people in the picture and the location. Then find some form of quality album and add the picture as necessary.

 If someone had given me this advice, it would have saved me the enormous amounts of time I'm going to be spending with this project now.

I will update my progress from time to time and continue to share what I learn about photo downsizing, disposal and display.

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