Friday, 17 September 2010

Picture Project

I’ve lately been in the throes of scanning hundreds, maybe even thousands of photos onto the computer. It’s a sort of madness that’s lasted for days; a sort of reliving of my whole life. Bill came home to find me yet again glued to the computer, stacks of pictures all around, some waiting to be scanned, some being put into albums of different sized pockets, most piled up in the trash bin. 

Once scanned, I’m keeping people, not places, except for pictures of homes, like mine, Mom’s and Rita’s; and then only people I know and would still speak to. Some of them may yet be deleted once I’ve marked the occasion. I threw away a whole trip to the zoo from maybe the 1980s because none of the pictures were particularly good and I have no idea where it was.  I can’t believe I’ve carried those around for 25 years. I told Bill was I felt fanatical about the photos for the moment, but blasé about blogging and, apparently, addicted to alliteration. That’s when I turned off the computer and went to do something else. Enough is enough.

I’ve scanned them in groups, with as many as I can fit on the scanner at a time, keeping them as square as possible. They can be rotated or copied and cropped later. I’m putting them into folders by decade and then where possible, into folders by year. The photos are going into whatever sized album pockets suit for now. At some point I’d like to have them better organized, but that can wait. I’ve discovered that digital photos are far more accessible to view, to share and to organise. They are brilliant.

Have you done any big project like this? How did you organise the photos, both digital and physical?


Tricia said...

I need to go through our pictures too. great job

James said...

After I get them organized I copy them to an external drive that I keep in a fireproof box. A little paranoid?

Rick Stone said...

I did this with the boxes and albums of pictures my folks have. Took some time. I set up one master file (Stone Pics) and then sub-files (Rick, Chester, Bill, David, Mom, Dad, each set of grandparents, etc.) in the master file. Once the scanning was done and the pics were identifed I then just moved them into their appropriate sub-file. Didn't even try to put them in any kind of date order.

I've been working, off and on, on the boxes/albums that Jo's Mom has. I've got most of them scanned and saved on flash drives. Jo went through all of them and, using a legal pad, wrote down who was in the pics that she could remember. We now need to take a day or two and have her Mom go through them and fill in the blanks. Once that is done I'll set up the sub-files like I did my family.

When I did the Stone clan I copied them to CD's and provided them to other family members. You are very correct about digital pics being easier to store, view and share. I've stored all of them on flash drives so I don't have to worry about losing them in the event of a hard drive crash, like I have experienced in the past.

Good luck with your scanning project. It is time consuming but will be well worth it in the long run. (I've still got several albums that Jo put together of our travels and family gatherings before we went to a digital camera. That's been awhile since I'm now on my third digital camera.)

Pauline Wiles said...

Once they're on your computer, you are going to back them up, aren't you? And preferably store your backup at a friend's house?

I'm not saying this because I'm organised enough to have done it(!) - although our electronic wedding pics are backed up and stored at work - but because, in the recent bad gas explosion near San Fran, the thing people seemed to regret losing the most, was photos.

So sorry, horribly long sentence there. But you get the idea ;)

Shelley said...

Tricia - I have been meaning to do this for at least a few years, ever since I worked out how much better digital is over paper. It is tedious, but it can be broken down into small chunks, which makes it more bearable. The fact that I have company coming and wanted to get rid of the huge crate sitting in the 'guest room' for ages is the only reason I've gone at it so whole hog.

James - They are on an external drive, yes. Will have to think about the fireproof box. No! Not paranoid! That is a huge part of my motivation, keeping the images safer as well as more accessible.

Rick - You're clearly on top of this! I envy Joanne having her Mom to ID people. I have a half dozen I waive in front of every new relative I find, to see if they know the faces.

Struggler - I had a friend once who had a fire, but her children's baby pictures miraculously survived. Then one day when they were moving, her slightly lazy but also generous husband offered a couple of strangers money for use of their pick-up truck. The two men looked like they could use some cash. Only they took off for parts unknown once the truck was loaded. These people picked the wrong victims - they didn't have anything worth much and most would have ended up in the tip...including the photos that Doris had been so grateful survived the fire. One of the saddest stories I've ever heard; I count it as incredible they are still married 20 years later. I would be very sad to lose my photos.

Anonymous said...

It will sure free up lots of space! I have been using digital camera for years now and only print out some of the pictures for my scrapbook. I never scanned the older pictures - ones taken before digital camera. However, I don't have much of those; maybe 3 albums.