I thank Lauri over at Laurie’s Reflections for for inspiring me to write this entry. I can easily relate to her questions about what to do with the Christmas photos of friends and relatives she’s been sent. Every year, I put away the Christmas cards to cut up to use as tags the next year. When I pick up the collection of photos, I just can’t throw them away so I carefully put them in a box. I don’t have one place to put these groups of photos. I find them in all kinds of places as I unpack my Christmas decorations every year. It’s like I hold the souls of my friends and family in my hand and throwing them away would be a sin. I need an altar or shrine or at least a special place for them.
Laurie jumped into my head and read my mind when it comes to my everyday photos! My parents just sent me a portion of the photos that my grandparents had accumulated over 70 years of marriage. I remember sending them Adam’s artwork as a 3 year old and pictures of Amber’s graduation from high school. Grandma kept everything she received from her kids, grandkids and relatives in the handiest box or envelope. I will keep them on the counter for a while, then I will put them somewhere, too.
When I have time, I put together a scrapbook. I have around 15 now from the past 25 years. I don’t do it because it is a fad or I just saw a program on a fancy new trick. I create something for me that I think others will enjoy someday down the road. It does take time which we all have so little of. I’m not up on the newest tricks, don’t buy the fanciest empty albums. I just get started. I sit amazed when I look at how many I have assembled.
The most recent was a recipe scrapbook using my grandmother’s recipes and photos of family sharing food together. Each time I make a scrapbook, I struggle with what order, my objective, and what to include. Then I forge ahead to put together something. I have no idea if anyone else will like what I’ve done. Mostly it is a process was a labor of love and quite satisfying to me. I’ve done everything in my human power to preserve my memories except to chisel them into a stone tower like the ancient conquerors did.
I haven’t even scratched the surface of the photos that I’ve collected! I have 5,368 photos residing in digital form on my computer right now. This represents my picture-taking skills from about 1995. Photos prior to 1995 have been carefully archived onto CD’s and stored away in the security chest. I imagine I am not the only one like this. New questions come up: should I print them, if I print them what do I use so they last over time, should I store them in more than one place, or put them online? Using digital albums like iPhoto has one great advantage: they are in chronological order and the date it was taken is associated with the file (if it is set correctly.) If I were persistent when I imported the photos in, I could tag each one and sort them by subject, too. Which leads me to my next question. Will my great, great grandkids be able to see them? Which format will exist 60+ years from now?
Everyone has a different reason for taking photos. I take photos because my long-term memories are always fuzzy. My brother and husband are so good at recalling things we’ve done. I’m not. I use my photos as a crutch to help me remember. In the process, I create for others to enjoy and remember.