As I mentioned last Friday, I have become the family historian who is responsible for sorting and organizing my parent’s family photos. My father was extremely organized and had meticulously labeled thousands of photos. My mother on the other hand was the yin to his yang and just tossed photos into the drawers of her nightstand along with receipts and other bits of paper.
I decided to tackle the contents of her nightstand first. I discovered that most people (and that includes my parents) aren’t discerning about the photographs they save. I found out of focus photos, poorly composed photos, faded photos and many photos of people that I don’t know. My advice is to let them go. It’s trash and it just obscures the good stuff.
In an effort to reduce clutter, I made the decision to digitize my family photographs. But I am aware that not every photo is worth the expense of digitizing. I don’t want to keep poor quality photos…the rule is, “If it is not worth digitizing it is not worth keeping”. My advice is to use the same critical eye with your own photos. Your children will thank you.
My next hurtle was to identify all the people in the photos. Mom had tossed pictures of her family from when she was a young girl into the pile. They are great images from the 1930s and 1940s but candidly, I don’t know who these people are and I don’t know how to find out. Mom was an only child who did not keep in touch with her cousins. Candidly, they are great black and white period photos so I will keep them but it would be even better if I could identify the family members.
As you can tell, this job is not going to be quick or easy but already the time spent has been enjoyable. I found photos that were like little time machines of fashion and design while others that made me smile. To quote Rod Stewart, every picture tells a story and I am putting together the story of our family.