In The News
Palm Beach Post, Sunday May 17, 2009
Preserving your past can be a rewarding experience to share with your family. How often do we sit down with our family members and share the stories and memories that our photos evoke? Isn’t this the reason we create photographs, to remember the times and the people that are important in our lives? I have so many questions I wish I could have asked my grandparents. They left behind so many unidentified photos. I realized that I needed to preserve the precious memories in these old photographs by interviewing my remaining relatives while they were still alive. It’s been more gratifying than I ever imagined. I only wish I would have started sooner. Here are some tips I learned along the way.
The most important thing you can do is identify your photos. People tend to loose interest in things that are not identified. Don’t let future generations discard your photos because they do not know who is in them. Take the time to identify those in the photos and date them. Another suggestion for labeling photos is to make photocopies or scan the photos. You can then use the copies for identifying purposes. This way, individuals can write all they want on the copy, even drawing arrows to individuals if they are in groups. Label every photograph with the answers to those old journalism questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Make sure you get the story behind each photo. Make duplicates and mail them to your relatives so they can share their stories too.
I highly recommend scanning your printed photos. Store them on your computer and keep backup copies on a CD, DVD or removable hard drive. Scanners are reasonably priced, you can get one for under $100. Scan them in at 300 DPI or higher. I also scan it in 200% larger then the original photo. This gives you the option to restore damaged photos, crop them and print out enlarged photos. Don’t take a chance that a hurricane, flood or fire could destroy your photos. Store disks in a water/fire proof storage box with other valuable paperwork. Also send a copy of the disk to relatives in another state.
Store your photos properly. Avoid keeping your photos in the attic, garage or basement. If you have photos in magnetic albums you should transfer them to a better album. Album pages that are coated with glue and covered with clear mylar plastic will ruin your photos. The acid in the glue deteriorates the photos and the mylar seals in the acidic fumes. I recommend scanning your photos and organize them into labeled file boxes. When storing the photos upright they take up much less space. You can also keep the negatives or a CD of your photos with each group of pictures.
Turn those special moments into treasured and meaningful keepsakes. I have begun designing hardbound heritage books about my family filled with all the photos and stories that I have collected. They are created in a digital format which enables me to print multiple copies for all of my relatives. As I look through the first Family Heritage Book I created I realize that this could be one of the most important things I did for my family.
The Palm Beach Post, May 28, 2009
The Palm Beach Post’s “Neighborhood Post” section featured a photo I took on the BackyardPix page.
Sunset photo was taken at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach, Florida