Friday, 12 February 2010

Saving Photos

The combination of getting a digital camera for my birthday -- gosh, is it two year ago already? -- writing this blog and wanting to illustrate it, and finding distant relatives with whom I want to share family photos has made me conscious of how much easier it is to enjoy computerized photos.

One can share them on a photo website such as Photobucket
, email them individually, put them on a CD or memory stick to wrap as a gift, use them as a slideshow screensaver or just browse them at leisure whilst waiting for the computer to do something else. Whilst I’ll always keep my Mom’s and Grandparent’s tattered leather and ribbon photo albums with their rough black pages and stick on photo corners, I'm not inclined to be doing much with book-like photo albums and my holiday snaps any more.

Not that I ever did. I have a large box full of Kodak envelopes from holidays gone by that never made it into albums. For the first years of living here in England I always tried to take a selection of pictures in a small album to share my most recent adventures with friends and family back in the States; this blog has obviously taken over from that in a big way.

My current big project is to scan all my photos, to discard any that are just scenery and then figure out what to do with the ones I keep. I’m not alone in this. This project got started a long time ago when I was still thinking about albums. I put the photos into big envelopes I collected from the incoming post at work. They were grouped by a) the decades of my life (50’s, 60’s etc), b) before I was born (Mom and Dad were professional photographers and took loads of photos of family members), c) after I came to England in 1995 (my first major travel experiences as well as life in England). That’s as far as I got for ages.

When I first came over, all my stuff was in storage waiting for me to have it shipped. I lived in hospital accommodation provided for foreign doctors. It was a three bed roomed
flat with a sitting room, kitchen, toilet and bathroom. My first flat mate was a man, which was a very odd experience to me, sharing a flat with a stranger and a male. Nikolaos was junior registrar neurosurgeon from Greece. He was married with a small daughter, but his family was still in Athens, as his wife was a psychiatrist and her English was not sufficient to allow her to practice in England. The opportunities to further his career unfortunately did not exist there. He was about my age and rather attractive, always smartly dressed, and friend but in a polite rather than familiar way, if that makes sense.

On the rare occasion when he wasn't on call at the weekend, he would sometimes invite me to accompany him on an excursion. I don't think I took up his offers very often, but on one occasion we ended up taking the Metro to the coast at Tynemouth
. He may have been the one who introduced me to the flea market there, come to think of it. Anyhow, I remember he handed me his camera and asked me to take his picture with the various landmarks (abbey, castle, church) of Tynemouth beach in the background. Nikolaus was full of opinions (being male, Greek and a doctor would apparently incline one in that direction) and one that he shared that day as stayed we me ever since: “A picture without a person is just a postcard.”

So, now anything that is ‘just a postcard’ is scanned and binned. Photos of people I no longer remember don’t even get scanned. Photos of people I remember but don’t like anymore might or might not get scanned depending upon how significant they were or how nice the scenery is. They may get deleted later, I don’t know.

The main question is what to do with the photos I keep? They come in all shapes and sizes, so were I to put them in a photo, it would have to involve those same stick on photo corners, I think. The peel back and cover plastic albums become more permanent than I would wish. So I’m still looking for solutions. I’m inclined towards a shoe box or two and a notebook with pockets for the larger photos, to be honest!

How do you store your photographs? Is it different for family photos than for holiday snaps?


B said...

Nooooooo! You can't just delete stuff cause it hasn't got a person in! How will future generations know what everything looked like if we don't keep a record??!?!?!?!?! it's one of the reasons i love doing the daily photo, the record of the soon-to-be-past it's creating.

Shelley said...

Sorry, B, did I miscommunicate? I do plan to scan the scenery, just not to keep the paper copies. I want to remember how places looked that I have visited, too. I just don't want to deal with the paper stuff, particularly not in this digital age.

Shelley said...

Oh! WoW! Beth! I hadn't realised you did the Daily photo thing. I've been long thinking of doing something about 'What's so great about Newcastle' and have carried my camera whenever I've gone into town. Your blog is going to save me some trouble there...Hope you don't mind if I point some cool stuff out to people! Great!

Rick Stone said...

Don't keep the paper copies after I've scanned them. I store them on sticks (flash drives). The beauty of having a photo grade printer is I can always print a copy if needed. This especially true with the older photos that I my parents have. I scanned them and then returned the originals to the folks. Also was able to go into Photoshop and clean up many of the old photos that have been damaged by being piled in boxes over the years.

We have not taken non-digital pictures in several years now. Jo was great about putting them in albums for a long time. The ones that did not get in albums have been scanned now. I still need to get the ones in the albums scanned and saved.

B said...

Ooooh that's OK then. I will stop panicking :) and yeah, let me know if you want pics of anything in particular so you can show them to people! funny, i assumed you found me through the photo site :)