I spent a bit of time digitizing slides for a client this week. I think slides are my favorite photos to bring back to life. There’s something about the medium that requires an extra effort to view, so you know these pictures have likely not been viewed for decades.
Many of the slides I saw this week were taken in countries I’ve never seen myself. I like to think that these historic places look much the same today, with only changes in hairstyles, glasses, and automobiles in today’s pictures. I kept thinking of the old line, “Come over and see our vacation photos!” Did the client’s parents invite their friends over and show these pictures on a screen or wall in their house? Did they tell the stories of things that happened in each location they visited?
There is a huge difference in the way people took pictures in the 1960s and the way they do today. Film and developing were expensive, so most people took very few photos – even when they were halfway around the world. Each picture had meaning, and often several stories behind the one image. Today it costs nothing to snap a digital photo and we spend our vacation looking through the screen of our phone or camera as we click away.
Think about the stories you want to tell with your photos. Instead of keeping your eyes on the camera, lift them up and enjoy the moment. Take a few meaningful pictures that you will use along with your words to tell the stories. Then make sure you take the time to tell the stories in your own words. It worked for our ancestors…
Now is the time to digitize those old slides. Get the stories behind them before it’s too late. Make wall art or framed enlargements out of favorites so they can see the light of day again. You never know what kinds of awesome pictures are hiding in those boxes!
Follow up: after I posted this blog, I went to a rock concert. I couldn’t believe the number of people who watched the show through their phone. They missed out on the way the laser lights ran across the arena, the flirtatious expressions on the lead singer’s face, the energy of the audience. What story do they have to tell? Who is going to sit there and watch the video with them? I’m not a curmudgeon – I did snap a few photos over the length of the concert, but the rest of the time the phone was in my pocket. These are enough to spark memories.