My project for most of the past week has been organizing my online photo albums. I scanned the majority of my non-digital photos a long time ago and categorized them by decade, but that turned out to be the easy part. Having scanned several photos at a tiime, I’ve had to go back to each scan and crop it into individual photos. This week I’ve been working on labeling each of those photos, which has turned out to be the biggest job of all.
A lot of the paper photos had names and dates written on the back, but the paper photos aren’t necessarily in the same order as the digital ones. That means flipping back and forth through the pictures one-by-one, searching for the one that matches the digital photo I’m trying to label. That gets old fast!
Two things have been most helpful in determining the dates of the photos: 1) the fact that we moved so often while my daughters were growing up, and 2) the girls’ school photos laid out in chronological order. The scenery and the furniture in the photos helped me be sure where each one was taken, and the girls’ hairstyles matched against the school pics helped me pinpoint a year.
So far I’ve worked my way from the pre-1940 photos all the way up through 1979; now I’m ready to tackle the ‘80s. Here’s a sceenshot showing just five of the 18 rows of pictures I have to identify and label from that decade:
The close attention to detail required takes a lot of time, but the biggest time consumer is my obsessive need to stop and admire each individual photo. These aren’t just pictures to me; they’re people and places and times of my life. They’re second on the list of things I would save in a fire, right after my dogs.
As I've been writing this post, the subject matter began to seem familiar, so I just did a blog search and discovered that I wrote about this once before, right after I began this project more than three years ago. The tone of that first post reflected much more of my love for the photos and much less about the technical difficulties involved in completing the project. Sometime between then and now, I seem to have lost the ability to envision an end to this work.
The photos mean as much to me now as they did then, so I assume that the difference in tone between the two posts is that I'm three years more tired and definitely more realistic about the amount of work this project entails.
One thing hasn't changed, though: It's still a labor of love.