Saturday, August 31, 2013

Oh, Photos! Be Still My Heart.

I might need an intervention.   I have 104 photo albumsIf each one holds an average of about 200 pictures (some have more, some have less, but, trust me, this is a good average), that means that there are over 20,000 photos in my living room. 

Is this crazy?  In this digital age, should I stop?  I can warn you ahead of time that not only do I not want to stop, but that my picture-taking is at an all time high. :)   For example, I just uploaded 1,298 additional pictures for printing (I was a year behind in printing and inserting in albums).

These pictures date back to my childhood, but most of them are from 1987 to now.  The fact that I have taken, kept and cataloged over 20,000  pictures in the last 20 years means that I can do things like the following, at will (with the assistance of the magical screen-shotting iPhone): 

Create a collage of my 3 kid's Halloween costumes from 1988 to 2013:
Come up with a Memorial Day Tribute incorporating family members from all 5 branches of the military in the last 4 generations (grandpa, dad, kids, siblings) of my immediate family:
Commemorate the 20th birthday of my beautiful child Lacey Allison in photos:
Produce holiday photo collages for not only Christmas (obviously)...

...but of the 4th of July as well, that date back for many years:

People say they are impressed by my collages and I admit they're pretty cool, but it's totally fun and easy for me.

In February my youngest brother asked if I'd make him a frame like the one that hangs in my house of him and me and our 3 other sibs that dates back to when we were little.  I have posted  one such picture of us in a previous blog: the 5 of us at ages 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10.  #love  The picture below is of Zoe with the frame I made for him --which has 13 of the 21 pics of me and my 5 sibs that I have collected from 1972 to today.

Pictures have helped me through bad times as well.  It's very sad, but, I remember how helpful it was, in retrospect, to make this "Baby Record Book" for Lacey in September 1999. Lacey was actually aged 6 at the time, but I came home empty and strange from the hospital after losing a baby at 5 months pregnant, and not knowing what to do. I still can't explain how it helped, but I went from creating this "baby record" to being able to make a memory album for my tiny-baby-not-to-be from pictures and artifacts that the nurses said that I would eventually want even though I refused to look at them at the time. (Those nurses knew the value of pictures).

My addiction has prospered and spread in the digital age --in ways that I could never have imagined back the days when I used to wait weeks to pick up my prints after dropping off the film.  (It was probably days, but felt like weeks.)  In addition to cataloging pictures in physical albums, I now catalog all my pics on an external drive.  And then there is social media where I am equally prolific:
  • There are 637 pictures on my phone today
    • I struggle to keep that number "around" 500
  • I have uploaded 1,831 pictures to Facebook since mid-2008 
    • This is an average of 366 per year
    • I am not the kind of person who uploads her entire vacation load of 143 pictures in one Facebook post; I pick the best ones (no more than 15-20 pics at one time)
  • I am tagged in an additional 183 Facebook pics
    • There was no Facebook when I was in college
  • I have posted 744 pictures to Instagram since this past January - this may be the most compelling argument for an intervention - I blame it on the challenges
    • I'm clearly very competitive 
  • God only knows what is happening on Twitter
    • I can't be held accountable for anything on Twitter :)

I have also posted before about my new found love for the View Master (the subject of that same previous blog post for which I am not being compensated in any way for promoting - it's just SO COOL (these are not my family pictures, but I would post one that had mine if I could).
And I can't leave out digital frames - when those came out I felt like they were made just for me!  I have two - one at home and one at work -and I just love them. 

I really can't begin to explain in one blog post how much 20,000-plus pictures mean to me, or why: the taking of these pictures, the printing of them, and the carefully placing of them in my albums. The continuing to record them even though I have no idea what the digital future holds.  Will I one day be able to call up any particular picture on my laptop/TV?  How cool would that be?! I don't know, but, whatever the future holds, I'm pretty sure it will involve me taking lots of pictures. 

So, yeah, I guess that was pretty much rhetorical - that whole question about whether or not I should stop earlier in this post. Never stop doing what you love. 


  1. You are one amazing woman with a lot of energy and imagination! Trevor tells me I should scan all of my picts and put them in digital albums, but I love my actual pictures just like you! This was my favorite blog post so far!

  2. Thanks!!! :) :) :) I am digitizing my pictures from before 2007 as I go along, but I doubt I could ever do all 20,000. There is no substitute for a leafing through a photo album. Even if we go all digital eventually that is no way to show pictures - remember the jokes about slide show pictures back in the day - how people used to bore their guests to death with slide shows of their vacation pics? :)