When we were young
When you come from a large family you tend to have lots of photographs of your childhood. My dad always had cameras and film equipment to capture holidays and memorable moments. While he was persistent he wasn’t necessarily a great photographer. He was truly a point and shoot guy that would probably do very well in the digital age but the age of film that point and shoot mentality just meant a lot of unusable photographs.
Last month I started a very ambitious project to archive the best family photos by having them scanned in digitally so that we could share them and use them for whatever they needed. The first step involved going through tens and thousands of photographs sitting in my mom’s closet to determine what was even usable. That process took at least 20 hours and I ended up throwing about 10,000 photos directly into the trash either because they were duplicates or because there was nothing in the photograph that was remotely part of the family. You see my dad was the kind of guy that would take pictures of anything – the mailman, the grocer, the fuller brush man passing through the neighborhood. I mean there were so many pictures of people that really had nothing to do with us and had no real need to be in our archive. After trashing about 10,000 photos I was left with probably around 10,000 photos that were remotely useable. The next step was deciding what was important enough to scan and pay the 20 cents to have it digitally archived. That process was really arduous and took about 3 full days to complete. I ended up with about 2,000 photos that I felt were archive worthy.
So the scanning company took my 2,000 photos and sent them off to India to be scanned in my cheap labor no doubt. It took about 4 weeks but they finally scanned all of the images in and then sent me a proof sheet to approve them. I just ended up approving them all since I really didn’t want to make those $1 an hour employees feel bad about the work they had done. I am sure that there is some sort of mechanism there in India where they only get paid on what gets approved by the buyer. I wanted nothing to do with scrimping someone of their payday so I just approved them all.
This week the CD arrived and I had a huge number of digital photos of my family that are actually pretty good. I would say at least 1,500 of them are pretty good. Over the next 3 weeks I will be compiling galleries for each person in the family so that they can have all their baby pictures and see themselves when they were young. That was the whole point of this project – to help my brothers, sisters, mom and dad remember the times when they were young.