Photo Overload

Image by Joshua_Willson from Pixabay
There's plenty of criticism these days about the number of photographs people take, especially with their phones. As for all those pouting selfies distributed on social media: clearly an exercise in sheer vanity. Now back in the day, with an old box Brownie, black and white roll film and a dark room, people had to be a little more selective. Yes, we've all heard it haven't we?

I just wonder how many people with their collections of photograph albums and boxes of photographs buried at the backs of cupboards, have been waiting for retirement to come around to finally sort them. Please don't tell me I'm alone in this quest.

So five years into retirement and after days of rain, I finally started. Well I have, but only if the definition of "starting" is to lift all albums down from the high shelf on which they have been hiding and pile them up together with the boxes of photographs. My dilemma is what do I do next?

For the last few years rather than printing pictures, I have been putting together 30-40 minute films, collating still digital shots and video from our travels with music and screen effects. Should I now seek to do the same using a scanner and some of those fading photos in the albums? It won't be the same as turning the leaves and browsing, but it will take up significantly less space.

Alternatively, should I just give the albums themselves a dusting and add a few more to the collection incorporating the loose photos? Or, should I do a cull and make some select coffee table style books? 

I've just counted and there are 42 albums stretching up to 2003 with boxes of photographs from then until retirement. It seems that I have, for rather too many years, persisted in continuing to have my favourite pictures printed as well as preserved as JPEGs. Is life too short to resolve this dilemma and will it be better simply to put everything back and, should we ever downsize or need the space, have a big bonfire at that point?

You can say what you want about all those selfies, at least it's easy enough to erase them and they don't take up shelf capacity until you do.


  1. Ah, yes, the photos. That was one of last winter's projects - gather up the photos and at least get them into albums. There was culling in the process. Prior to digital photos, I was quite diligent about labeling photos with names, dates, places and placing them chronologically in photo albums. That practice went awry when I started scrapbooking. The intent to scrapbook left photos gathered in piles and boxes. A comment by an aunt also impeded the practice. She commented one day when i was showing off my scrapbooking - you know, no one`s going to care about those when you`re dead! After the first reaction of ``what the what!`` I came to realize the truth of her statement. Certainly my son would not know 90% of the people in those photos. I became very selective about the photos I took and even what I brought into the house, thinking, ``Do I really want or need this or is it one more thing to be thrown away`` I don`t have anywhere near 42 albums. The thing is, whether the photos are in a box, in an album, stored on the computer or a stick, in a coffee table book, the question remains - how often am I looking at them. Not often enough.

    1. You are leaning me towards quite a cull with your sound advice

  2. I've been meaning to start sorting mine for years. Main reason is my daughter loves looking at them. I has them sorted into years but she came along one day & when she left they were all oer the place.
    I inherited lots from an uncle & we enjoyed seeing photos of family that we hadn't seen before. However they weren't labelled & I don't know who some of the people are. Now I'm feeling guilty about not labelling mine & that's without the ones on the computer.

    1. It’s the enormity of the task that makes it so overwhelming but it’s good to know that even unsorted and without labels they can bring pleasure to our children.

  3. Oh the photos! Item 1,500 on my list of things to do. But I want to get it done as my kids always get the albums out when they come over, and no it isn't the same as simply having them on the computer is it!! I'll get there in the end though, even if I have to Snapfish them! Oh and I reckon we might be twins as I got the yoghurt maker about 6 months ago too!

    1. So now we’ve each found our missing twin, it sounds like we are going to have plenty of photographs to show the other when bringing them up to speed at the grand reunion!


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