Sharing Past Memories

On a recent visit to my parent’s home, I discovered two boxes of old photos. I questioned my Mom about these photos. She told me that one box was from her mother, which she received when she died, and the other box was old photos of her from the time she was in elementary school up until the time she met my dad. I didn’t have much time to go through these images but told her that I would take them home, scan them and save them to CD/DVD. Once I had these photo in my office I started to sort through the images, sorting by size to make them easier to scan. A lot of these photos were really in bad shape, curled, faded, cracked and in need of some TLC.

Once the sorting was completed, on to the scanning process – this is where the fun begins for me. Scanning is actually a mindless activity once you have the process in place. The key to scanning is to select the correct DPI (dots per inch) i.e.: if you have a photo that is 4x6 inches and you want to print the scanned image the same as your original set the scanner to 300dpi. If you think you may want to print the image to 8x12, set the scanner to 600dpi. Enough with the tech talk! With the scanner set, now fill the scanner bed with as many photos as will fit. Most scanner software will scan each photo as an individual image. Now you just load and unload the scanner with photos and you can watch TV during the process. You can easily scan a few hundred photos in an evening. After I have these scanned images, I bring them into Adobe Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Elements 10 to clean up dust spots, adjust the levels on the photos that are to dark or light (it’s amazing how you can bring a faded or dark photo back to life) and finally crop the photo to a desired size.

By the time I finished scanning these two boxes of photos I had 777 images that will be shared with my sister, aunts and uncles, cousins and any one else who may be interested in a little bit of our family history. I tested the waters to see who might be interested, by posting a few images on Facebook. The first post got a hit within 6 seconds from a cousin in California who hadn’t seen this particular image and commented that it brought back lots of great memories. Many other comments came in over the next few days and I knew that I was on to a good thing. I commented to my cousin in California that I had enough black mail photos of her family to last for a long time. I now plan to burn these images to DVD, to make copies of the DVD and send them to family members who would like to have a little piece of the family history.

After I had finished with this scanning project I realized that 60-70 years ago people didn’t take a lot of photo compared to the amount of photos taken now. We don’t just take 1 photo of an event as our parents did, we can take as many as we like to get just the right expression. In this digital age we’ve joined, there is a problem that most people haven’t yet thought about! How are we going to pass on our memories to our children and grandchildren? – Yes, we have them on our computer’s hard drive, and some of us have them on CD’s and DVD’s. This is all well and good as long as the hard drive doesn’t crash or the CD/DVD doesn’t rot or get scratched or until technology changes and we can no longer read our media. The missing piece to this puzzle is very simple: PRINT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS. Looking back to when Kodak introduced digital photography, they should have said to the consumer public “digital is the next generation in photography, making picture-taking more fun and less expensive than traditional photography, but you still must put that image on paper to preserve it for generations to come.” Their future would probably look a lot different than it does now (a company on the edge of bankruptcy). I will confess that I don’t print a lot of photographs on traditional photographic paper, I do however print my photographs in book form using online digital press vendors. What I do print on photographic paper are special event that happen in our family life i.e.: Christmas Cards, family portraits, special events that my children are involved in at school and even a little scrapbooking of yearly calendars that I give as Christmas gifts.

If we want to share our memories with future generations, the printed photo will last for years to come as our grand parents and parents have shown us proof of this. Will our children and grandchildren say the same about us?

If you would like to have your photographs scanned to cd/dvd, but don't have a scanner, bring them into our store for our shoe box scanning service!