A couple of years ago I had the grand idea to do something amazing with old pictures, and informed my mother that I had to commandeer all of our family photos that have ever been taken since the beginning of time.
She reluctantly gave them to me, and they have been sitting in my office in bins since then.
I have done nothing with them, except maybe to look through them once in a while. To reminisce. To make a collage for my Grandfather’s funeral. To post embarrassing pictures on Facebook for #ThrowBackThursday, an ongoing social media project that serves to show people you know now who you were then.
For a lover of history like me (okay, a sentimental fool like me), these photos are important. I like having them close by. I like seeing little me smiling within a three-by-three square, wearing satin mouse ears and a pink tutu. I like seeing pictures of my brothers and I choosing a movie to watch on videodisc. I like looking at my parents’ wedding photos, snaps of me and my cousins listening to Granddad playing the fiddle, family pics of my Grandparents, Great-Grandmother, my dad, aunt and inexplicably, a cow.
When I was a kid I spent hours looking through those old pictures. There were hundreds of them, millions it seemed. I would paw through unfinished albums and piles that were stuffed into the drawers of the highboy in the living room, searching for one I hadn’t seen before. I never found a new one. When I look at the two bins in my office I realize that there weren’t that many to search through. Three hundred photos can fit into a small album. I can get through those old pictures in a couple of hours.
My husband and I have maybe a hundred photo albums. Before we even got married we had several, filled with pictures of just of the two of us, our families and friends. At one point I was afraid that they might overtake our home, even in this digital age where piles of real photos are unnecessary. The albums kept filling up. He was the photographer in our home, and the task of selecting photos to edit, print, and put into albums was his. I preferred to live our moments, not watch them happen behind a camera.
Now we have so many photos stored on our camera, in our phones, on tiny digital cards, and in our kids’ iDevices and phones that to try and catch up with them would take several days. Maybe weeks. “Organize photos” is a regular entry on my to-do list, my husband giving up his job long ago.
I don’t know if it will ever happen, or if I even know where to start. Maybe someday I’ll get to it. Or maybe we will be one of those families where the albums peter out after a few years and newer photos are just thrown into a box or in a few drawers, left for our kids to rummage through on a day when they’re feeling nostalgic. Or maybe they’ll never be printed out, left on tiny SD cards to be lost, erased from damaged iDevices and phones, or languish forever in The Cloud, whatever that is.
Anyway, I’m keeping the pictures of my past for just a little while longer. I like having them to look through once in a while, to remember who I was before I became who I am. Someday, hopefully soon, I will do something with those old pictures.
I’m just not sure what.
What do you do with your old pictures, digital or otherwise?
Do you have any suggestions for me? If you say scrapbooking I'll scream.