Our house is piled high with photographs. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but sometimes it seems that way. In the basement, in an antique dresser in the downstairs bedroom, are boxes and envelopes stuffed with photos, along with many loose photos. Photos Lynda and I took. Photos my parents took. Photos their parents took. Photos with negatives. Photos without negatives. Negatives without photos.
Then in the basement storeroom are boxes of photos. Photos from our China trip, and other trips. Photo albums of ours from 1976 to 1986. Boxes of developed Photos Lynda’s parents took. Photos her grandparents took. Photos from even earlier generation.
And I’m not even close to the end. In the secretary in our bedroom, one drawer is all but stuffed with photos we look in later years. The number of these have waned over the years, especially when we had a digital camera. This drawer contains hundreds of photos. Together by the roll of film they came out of. But otherwise un-annotated.
And, one more batch. On our dining room table, and in boxes around it, are hundreds of photos that belong to Lynda’s mom, Esther. Over a year ago, before Esther moved to her current, small apartment, Lynda’s brother began the process of putting these in photo albums. He didn’t get very far. Lynda picked it up, and made good progress. However, not one album is put together; the photos are spread out on the table; others are in boxes next to the table; and the end is not yet.
Since the rise of digital photography, the era of printed photos has mostly come to an end. Today a shutterbug fills a card with bytes, rather than a box with prints. How those cards eventually get to easily viewable media is a question. And, how many of those become prints is another question. But for sure, future generations won’t be filling up antique dressers, storeroom shelves, and dining room tables with thousands of prints.
We have a monumental job to go through these photos. The oldest one I know of is from August 1877. We have lots that are from England that are unmarked. I know these are of either Hepburns or Todds, but beyond that I have no clue who they are. And no way of knowing.
I wanted to illustrate this blog with pictures of the piles of photos. Alas, I have no camera right now, except for the kind that require film. Our digital camera bit the dust almost a year ago. Lynda’s iPad-mini takes photos, but we haven’t figured out how to do it very well. And neither of us have a cell phone with a serviceable camera. So, irony upon irony, I can’t take a picture of the photo problem.
I suppose we’ll get through this. Since we are in good health and neither of us expects to assume room temperature any time soon, we have years to get the job done. If we can complete Esther’s photo albums in a month or two, clear away the boxes, and return excess photos to those who sent them, I’ll feel good about it. After that, I’ll check back in here and let you know where we stand. Or maybe I’ll wait a year or two, till I have something new to say about it.