The bad thing about being home sick is that you’re sick. The good thing about being home sick is the amount of work you can get done on incredibly time-consuming tedious low impact projects like my family photo project (mentioned briefly here and here).
My family photo project came about after I inherited my grandma and grandpa Schultz’s photographs, which included their parents photographs. Boxes of photographs and paperwork arrived with no semblance of order or content: maternal mixed with paternal, 1850s with 1950s. To make matters worse, little or no identifying information led to squinting at faces and trying to make an educated guess as to who they might be. I decided that the best way to tackle the mound of boxes was to jump in head first – digitize.
Using a fairly standard Hewlett-Packard commercial scanner, I set about turning the family photos into digital jpeg files. No, they’re not the stellar quality of a professional operation (like this one), but they’re quantifiable and give me the opportunity to email them to family with the question “who the heck are these people?” For example, this photograph of beer loving men remains unidentified. Just based on the information I could gather from the rest of the collection, I’m guessing these men are probably part of the Bast family (any leads would be greatly appreciated). The other advantage to digitizing first is that its quite easy to go back and add names to a file as you discover them later.
After digitizing, I organized them to the best of my ability by decade for the 1950s to 200os. Prior to 1950, photos were arranged by family. The decision to do this was made partially because of the amount of pictures from the time period and because my grandparents married in the 50s. Using acid free paper, photo corners, gel pens, and sheet protectors I created pages of photos and wrote down any identifying information I knew. This is partially for my own knowledge, and so that anyone in the future can use what I’ve been able to discover about the pictures. The acid free supplies should prevent any undue deterioration of the photographs and definitely provide better housing than old cardboard boxes under a bed.
90% of my pictures have a notation like this on the back. What the hell happened to you, Kodak?