There is a small antique bureau in our dining room area. I believe it belonged to my parents. I don’t think we have opened the drawers in years. Several were filled with photographs. In no way did it represent all of our photographs, but various boxes and envelopes with photos usually grouped together for some reason. An empty album with a box of photos and memorabilia from a trip to Ireland — never put together. A box of Peace Corps pictures. Another box of my elementary and high school photographs. Photos from Diane’s teaching. Large format and older photos from the Smith and Profy families. A folder of 8×10 black and white that I printed in my New Hope darkroom. An envelope with many that had probably been taken from family albums for some gathering — can’t remember if it was my parents anniversary or my mothers funeral. I sorted everything into groups.
When we lived in Boston and I worked in the book bindery, I made a large green leather photograph albulm (blue pages). It measures about 15 by 15 inches. At the time Diane and I raided our parents’ collections, selected got our best pictures and created a special family album. The last pages contained photographs from the 1980s. From then until today, we’ve used a variety of storage methods — plastic pages in 3 ring binders, small albums for 3 x 5 photos or 5 to a page. Some albums were family pictures, Jenny and Rob’s wedding, other specific trips — Italy, Germany. I have about 7 from the nine years I traveled to Nicaragua. Sometime after 2000, with the arrival of digital, I have filed selected printed shoots together, chronologically, in old small wooden file cabinets drawers.
After cleaning out the bureau, I pulled all of the photos from the large leather family album. Many were falling out; some were missing, raided for uses like school projects. Then I pulled out all the albums. Now the question is what to do with all the loose photographs. More file boxes, shoe boxes were once popular. Albums? What size, how to group them. Is it desirable to digitize them. Remember I have thousands of 35 mm slides that should be digitized.
I found a small empty 3 x 5 album that would hold about 100 pictures. There were about 100 pictures from our Peace Corp training for Libya in Bisbee AZ. Perfect now we have a Peace Corps album. For fun I copied a few with the phone. Just the beginning.