Archiving photos

10 Nov

My latest project is going through about 50 years of family photos and getting them labeled and into albums. My dear mother (God rest her soul) was an inveterate shutterbug and triple-print advocate. Putting them in some sort of order in albums was always on her to do list. I inherited the photos and the to do list about 15 years ago, and figured this was about the time to get started on the project.

Going through thousands of photos.

Going through thousands of photos.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been grabbing an hour here and there to go through all the envelopes, put the duplicates (and triplicates and beyond) in one pile, and figure out whether it’s disrespectful to the memory of the people in the photos to get rid of some of them. I’ve decided it’s okay to throw out some of these pictures. My mom was taking photos as if she were using a digital camera or were a member of the paparazzi (of course she thought her family was full of special snowflakes, because that’s what all wonderful and loving mothers think!). So there are minute by minute shots of Christmas present opening, for example, and I don’t feel compelled to keep every single one (never mind the fact that she took advantage of “triple prints” at every opportunity, so there are three copies of the same photo of present opening…)

And now I’m working on grouping photos by decade, and then taking the ones I’ll keep and putting them in albums with labels (while I still remember who most of the people are….). It’s so much fun to look at these old photos and remember the happy days they represent. Kind of bittersweet that almost everyone in them is dead…. but really the fun is winning out. Lots of dress up days, lots of funny hats on elderly relatives, lots of great 20th century technology and decor in the background. It’s good stuff.

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