Saturday, July 21, 2012

Digital Photo Preservation Project

My cousin Renae stayed over at the end of June, and she shared with me how she's been working on a project with her family photos. Since digital wasn't widely available until we were both well into college, all of our childhood photos are physical copies, or maybe even a 35mm negative. In her case, the physical photos were stored in "cling-film" albums, which are known to discolor and warp the photos over time. She decided to remove them from their albums and scan them into a digital format, so that she could restore them and preserve them. In addition, she can arrange them into a digital scrapbook, and she can print identical copies of that scrapbook for anyone who wants one.

I've bought similar books from, and even the walgreens/rite-aid/CVS photo department can print photo books for you. I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't exactly have the tools to get started. Ok, I have the tools, I didn't have the pictures.

Back when my folks got divorced, my biological mother skipped town with all the family photo albums. The carefully selected prints all disappeared when she did. Luckily, though, she left all of the "reject sleeves". You know, back in the days before digital, when you would take 15 idential shots hoping that one of them would turn out? Right! So you get your one perfect shot, and stick the other 14 back into the paper sleeve that they came in with the little pouch for the negatives. (My apologies to anyone born after 2000 who doesn't understand any of this.)

Well, ten years ago, my sister took those "reject sleeves" and sorted them into boxes, based on what they were labelled (not that those labels were accurate) and today I got into those boxes to see what they held.

My Childhood, in 7 Boxes.

Now, these may be rejects, but they're the only photos of my childhood that I have, so my standards are a little bit more relaxed on whether or not its a "Keeper". I went through all the bins, and I've narrowed it down to probably 200 photos. I took probably 350 photos on my recent trip to Mexico, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

I spent an hour scanning in some photos, and I've already got about 50 of them done. Its going to be a long haul to get these all digital, but it is definitely worth it.

UPDATE 7/25/12:
Scanned in about half of the total photos and posted a few select favorites to facebook. Renae and I at least are loving the memories! We also really want to get our other cousins together to re-take one of our old photos, just like this family did.

PS: We were totally cute kids!

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