The Photo Archiving Project


Ever since I can remember, there has been a cardboard box full of pictures below the gun cabinet in my parent's house. Periodically, we would pull the box out and look through it or to toss in the envelope of leftover school pictures. Since the advent of digital pictures I have wanted to somehow get all of these online to make sure they don't spend years, mostly forgotten, in a cabinet or attic. But, I also knew it was going to be a big project, one difficult to pull off with small children and a slow, flatbed scanner. By far my favorite picture of my parents. They are so young! The woman behind them is one of my mom's oldest friends.

Now, my kids are old enough and self-sufficient enough - oh, who am I kidding? they have little to no desire to hang out with me these days - I could dedicate the time to the project. After a little online research, I found the perfect personal photo scanner  which is inexpensive, easy to set up and use, quick to scan and produces good quality photos.

In the last week, I separated the pictures out by decade, with the idea I would go through the digital files and rename them with numbers indicating the decade; yeah, that ain't gonna happen. I have scanned all of the 60s and before and about half of the 70s. Almost 800 pictures, roughly 500 MB, which means this box will  need less than one gig of space in a file sharing site. My idea is to archive the pictures on Dropbox or its equivalent, share the file with my family so they can save whatever pictures they want, but keep the original file in the cloud. Forever. I haven't finalized which file sharing site I'm going to use (Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive or Amazon Cloud Drive). It will probably depend on how much space all of these pictures take.

It's been fun going through the pictures and seeing the very young version of myself, my brothers and sister and parents. Then again, I haven't scanned the pictures from the 80s yet. As I scanned, I kept thinking what horrible picture takers we were - off-center pictures with people's heads cut off - until it dawned on me many of these are the reject pictures. The good versions are in our photo albums. But, as a rule, my family wasn't big on picture-taking except during holidays or significant events, so we don't have as good of a record of our past as I would like, an especially devastating realization to one with such a bad memory, like me. There are very few pictures of my father from pre-1963, when he married my mom. When I asked my mom why, she said my dad's first wife took all of their pictures. It makes me incredibly sad to have lost so much of his past, especially now that he's gone and can't tell us stories.

Don't be surprised if you see some posts in the future with more of my favorite pictures.