I scanned my late father's collection of nearly 4,000 family photos from the past 60 years or so.

in #photography2 years ago (edited)

Dad passed away in Feb 2014. Without getting into too much detail, his health was always an issue since I was a little kid. He died suddenly in his home at the breakfast table, but I tend to tend to describe it as a sudden death after 27 years of declining health.

In the process of dispersing his belongings to all us family members, I made a point to have any and all photos that were found be given to me for archiving. Granted, Dad wasn't exactly a photographer, so many of the photos are what you'd expect to find - family photos during family functions from crappy point & shoot cameras, or maybe the occasional Polaroid. That said, many of those were functions that occurred 40-50 years ago, so those photos are the definition of vintage.

I'm still scanning, actually. So far I've racked up over 3,000 images that will eventually make their way up to either Flickr or Google photos. I just find it fascinating to bring these memories back to life in some way. There's a kind of satisfying peace involved with archiving your own family's history.


Photography is an art but family photos are an external hard drive of memories - the light bouncing off people and objects that only exist in our hearts. I found this touching.

Nice. I especially like the last photo. It's like I can smell the nice aroma of that old furniture. When I was young I remember my grandparents' houses were like that - "vintage" and "cozy". We don't have much of that anymore, since the modern "advances" in materials science (ex. plastic, etc. ) I bet they had a vinyl record player in that room, and the ambiance was soothing...

I love these.
I'm doing something like this myself with pictures my parents took.

I love the images, but I feel I really have to add words when I can. Names, dates or at least an attempt at guessing the era. What was happening. Unfortunately, that takes quite a bit of time, so when I try to do that the scanning gets very slow.
So I scan first and annotate later.
And now both my parents have become demented. Neither remembers anything about most of the pictures. Mom also has confabulation, a condition where her brain saves her the stress of not remembering something by giving her a completely fictional memory. She tells stories of things that never happened with absolute sincerity.
Those pictures I scanned already, many of them will forever be just images that suggest a story.

Dementia has also struck several other of my older relatives, and death most of the rest. Except for one aunt, I am now the oldest member of my family who is allowed go outside without an escort. She is too busy dealing with the other demented family members to take on new family history work. I am too busy with my own parents to do much scanning.

{Yes, I am absolutely terrified every time I can't remember something, even something it is entirely normal to forget.}

But the images I have scanned, especially those where I know the story, those bring me joy and some sense of continuity. I need to get writing on those. And maybe show them to Mom. Her information may be completely fictional, but it can be interesting.

One picture in particular - my little brother and a big fish he caught. He recently died of cancer. I made him a large copy of that picture. He remembered that fish and it brought him one of his last few smiles. His widow asked if she could keep it. Of course she could, even if I hadn't made that copy specifically for them, which I had.

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I find old photos always really interesting. It opens a window to history and the ordinary, everyday photos are usually the most fascinating ones. Thank you for this glimpse to your family history.

That´s a good project of yours... I was also scanning some of my dad´s pics particularly when he was in the army in the 40´s ... Unfortunately. some of his images were damaged due to the flooding in his house in Manila... I´m glad I save some albums.. Thanks for the post, this is a reminder for me...

Love these pics! I have some old scans from my grandmother and her family. It's awesome to be able to see people as they really were back then, not from the imaginations of Hollywood, if that makes sense.

I think we all have some family photos that need this treatment, I know for me personally this post is a reminder of a half finished project scanning in family photos for my wife's mother. I loved the pictures you shared, thanks for the little window into your familY :)

@tipu curate

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