December 21st, 2007
A couple weeks ago, I blogged about an initiative that I was just beginning to carry out: uploading and archiving my collection of photographs onto Flickr. I’ve now finished the first “pass” of that project: roughly 13,277 photos are now online, organized into roughly 425 albums that record the activities of five generations of my family, for a period of almost a hundred years. Of those, some 3,154 photos are “public,” and you’re more than welcome to view them by visiting my Flickr page.
I’ve also sent email invitations to roughly 20 members of my extended family, with instructions on how to view all of the photos, in various formats. Thus far, this has been met with a loud yawn; four of my relatives have responded with interest and enthusiasm, but the rest haven’t even acknowledged receiving the email. But that’s okay; some of them will eventually wake up, and the others will never know what they’re missing. Mostly I’m doing this for myself, because I think the story of five generations of anyone‘s family is interesting. It will never be turned into a best-selling novel, or a Hollywood blockbuster … but at the end of the day, all we have is our memories, and it’s hard to keep those memories if we don’t have pictures to look at.
Take a look at what’s out there — Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, Kodak, and others — and then take a look at the hundreds of digital family photos you’ve got on your computer, along with the shoe-boxes full of old negatives and prints. Take the time now to organize them into an archive, even if it requires a lot of tedious work. It won’t mean anything to anyone today or tomorrow … but there will come a time, five or ten or twenty years from now, when you’ll look back and realize that it was one of the most meaningful things you ever did.