Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Curating and Sharing Old Family Photos


This week I've been moving "old" family photos into archival photo albums. The ultimate goal is to encourage relatives to page through the albums now and then.

Currently, I'm sorting and arranging hundreds and hundreds of snapshots from the more recent past--meaning 2010 back through the 1960s. I'm saving the very oldest photos for last, because I'll be using a different kind of photo album for those odd-sized prints.

Happily, most of the photos have the month and year of development auto-printed on the back (as shown at top, left) or on the front border. This is a big help in sparking memories about who, what, when, where, and why, for captioning purposes.

There are a LOT of near duplicate photos, for a very good reason. In the pre-digital age, we would often take two or even three photos of the same person or scene, because we weren't always sure which would come out well (if any). That's why there are SO many photos to reorganize into albums.

As I sort through the photos, I'm curating by:

  • Tossing out of focus or very poor quality photos, like the one at top right. 
  • Saving only one of exact double and triple prints, sending most of the dupes to relatives as a surprise.
  • Putting the best photo in the album and inserting a near-duplicate underneath the best print. The near-dupe isn't visible but it's available in the album, if I don't send one or more to relatives right now ;)
Curating doesn't take much time but it will focus attention on the most important photos from our family's past. It also means the albums will not have too many multiple versions of the near-same photo. 

Plus it's fun to share the dupes and near-dupes with relatives now--and it gets a conversation going about family history.

I may even create a few photo books with themes such as weddings, graduations, or holidays, featuring different ancestors and relatives through the years. It's another way to keep alive the memory of our ancestors, gone but not forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. I loved getting surprise photos in the mail. That happened to me several times from aunts and second cousins, sharing the photos that they either took of my family or photos sent to their family from mine.