A picture is worth a thousand words….

(reposting this in the new era of KonMari -ing… be careful of what you feel “sparks joy” … )

…Except when it isn’t. When you can’t put your hands on a photo when you need it, does it exist? (If a tree falls in the forest….?)

I am many things—(Mom, wife, Gigi, quilter, genealogist, photographer),— as well as a picture framer. The genealogist in me gets crazy when old photos are not preserved, when names and dates are not recorded or when people don’t respect the treasure trove of history they possess. There is hardly anything sadder than wandering through an antique store, and coming upon boxes of old studio portraits, being sold for a buck or two.(That could easily translate to old quilts made by long ago family members that end up under cars, under dogs or in the Goodwill bins, I suppose.)

The first photograph was taken, with an eight HOUR exposure, in 1824. We’ve come a long way, baby. Now we take photos with our telephones—an object that didn’t even exist for at least a quarter century beyond the first photo. (or longer, if you believe Bell invented the phone, not Meucci)2010-MAY genealogy-10

What is the value of this graven image? It is to record history, a moment in time, to hold onto a moment, to jog ones memory, to remind, to reminisce….

I have lamented before that I feel that this generation is going to be the most photographed ever and yet possibly, the most ephemeral.  The generations to come will realize our folly and fix it, but this current moment….We take photos with phones, and upload to Facebook. We don’t print. We don’t have high quality images. We have the ability to shoot at 18+ MP yet are recording life at way less than 1 MP. We neglect to upload from our pocket digi until the card is full, and if we are shooting at low res, because we don’t see the value in high-res…well the camera could be stolen or the memory card could fail before we upload the 679 photos that we’ve shot over the course of the life of the camera. (How many cries of “OMG, I lost my phone, my computer crashed “do you have to hear before you realize it could happen to YOU, too??)

We record every bitty thing that happens, but yet. (and yes, it IS on FB….what of it? How do we know we will ALWAYS have access to it? We don’t know. “THEY” can tell us what they like, but….THEY can change the rules, too.)

About a week and a half ago, another woman came into the store, needing to frame an enlargement for a memorial service the next day. The problem?

The woman said the only photo she had of her lovely granddaughter was of her pressed closely into the arms of a second person. And it was a photo from a phone. By the time she had the image cropped to just her, and enlarged to a size large enough to sit by the coffin in at the church, well…. It’s just damned depressing! Why? A beautiful 20-something woman, and her grandmother doesn’t even have a good photo of her.

What is that false vanity that causes current obituaries of 98 year-olds to have a photo taken in 1967 run beside the article, looking as they did—once upon a time, but not in the way that anyone who spent time with them in the last half century might remember…

The number of photos that are brought to me of Grandpa, or Uncle Bill, that are no more than badly lit snapshots– taken with a glass in hand, three empty cans and an empty dessert plate on the side table under that horrid lamp– that are fuzzy, out of focus, poorly lit, and faded–originally a 126 negative (long trashed) and really shouldn’t have survived past the first culling of out of focus shots….now represent the last and final memory we have? That is what becomes the 16×20 graveside image for all the mourners?

There was a blog posted the other day that spoke of taking photos now, not waiting till you are the right weight, etc…and a comment, that the photos of one person’s mom are mostly chemo and post-chemo photos, because the idea of mortality seemed to have reached over the ledge of vanity….

Are there photos of you? Nice enough ones. Not photos where someone snuck up and stole a shot of you before you could put your arms up. Not photos where you feel you look the best you will ever look, because that photo isn’t going to happen, ever, because you know one day you will feel more worthy of being on that side of the camera, but not today. Do you have hands-on access to photos—actual printed copies—of the people in your family?

Can you think of, and find, the most recent photo of you that you LIKE? Is it over a year old? Then you better do something about it.

2012-11-NOV 19-116My current favorite photo of ME.

If you were packing to escape the potential ravages of Sandy right now…. could you lay hands on the photos that mean something? And are there copies on line somewhere? Because it is a blend of both real and digital that creates our world. Digital, cloud-based is all fine and dandy…as long as it isn’t corrupted, and hard copies of photos are great as long as they aren’t burned or flooded…

There was a time, yes. The one existing photo of your great grandmother was standing on the front porch, baby in arms, squinting into the sun so the photo could be taken. Or this, of my Great Grandparents posed precariously in the porch door, at the edge of stairs so they could have a lovely photo. (And aren’t they cute?)

MMFrank

There was a time where photos were not part of every participant with a phone. But that time isn’t today. Do your loved ones a favor and get on the other side of the camera on occasion. And hit up CVS and print some photos for Grandma’s Brag Book while you are at it.

(Here are a few of my older blog posts about how you can organize your photos, places to save them on-line, etc. )

https://aliaslaceygreen.com/2015/02/01/its-february-1st-do-you-know-where-your-photos-are/

https://secure.smugmug.com/signup.mg?Coupon=PMfvFGKyQzxgg –ONLINE, UNLIMITED STORAGE, plus the ability to order PRINTS of all your images! This is where I have all my photos; my photo web-page rteest42.com is powered by Smugmug!

https://aliaslaceygreen.com/2011/01/04/joseph-kevin-casey/#comments

https://aliaslaceygreen.com/2010/01/31/one-month-in/

https://aliaslaceygreen.com/2010/02/14/sitting-in-front-of-the-tv/

https://aliaslaceygreen.com/2010/03/28/cyber-flinging/

Advertisements

Cyber-flinging…

No, I don’t mean getting to hurl your computer across the room, no matter how much the idea appeals to you!

Let’s fling files, and junk mail and old, out of date folders. This could get messy, folks— make sure you are paying attention, because you don’t want to lose something important.

First, email. Junk mail, advertisements, message board memberships, forwarded jokes and the like.

Have more than one email address!! It doesn’t have to be with your internet service—Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail— there are plenty of places to open free accounts. Choose the one (or more) that works the way you like. Open a second or third account. You can make it easy on yourself and just call it “Firstname.LastName1” (Mary.Smith1, Mary.Smith2, etc) Why?

Because the next time you go to a store, or fill out some survey or buy online, you can use the address that you choose to be for marketing purposes. You want this to be different than the one you give to family and friends. You should check it often, for special sales and such, (and who doesn’t love a sale!!) but it won’t clutter your daily, personal email. If you are newly doing this, then every time you receive some sale message, IF YOU STILL WANT TO RECEIVE MAIL FROM THEM, go to their site and change your address.

Second, DO you still want to receive mail from them? You ordered a sweater for a gift from a company you don’t normally shop at, and now they bombard you daily? Unsubscribe!! Usually right at the bottom of the message, you have a link. (A low-impact way to do this is what I have been doing. Each day, at least ONE piece of marketing email is either unsubscribed or re-subscribed to a different box.)

If you are a member on a message board, can your Email program sort these messages into folders, so you can read at your leisure? If so, take the time to set them up properly. If not, consider changing programs!!!

Then, take a look at the message boards themselves. Are you not really involved in all of them? Remove your membership! Don’t be a slave to it. Choose those that fit best.

Now, onto the harder stuff.

(All the following assumes you have a good command of your computer, and I am unable to give precise direction as so many things are different….)

Your C drive—is it sluggish and slow? Do you have folder after folder of writing, memos, and other files just cluttered here and there? Do you NEED them any longer? (Itinerary for a trip taken two years back? At best, print it and store with your photos and other souvenirs. You haven’t printed the photos yet? Store the file in a folder labeled Archives-Various.)

Remember, use the folders to your advantage, just like a real filing cabinet. Make the categories relevant and useful to YOU, and FLING the stuff that is out of date!

CAVAETS:

  1. Do not go digging into places you shouldn’t be. Be careful that your flinging doesn’t go so overboard that you need to call in the computer repair person of your choice to put you back together!!!! (While MY computer repair person seems to think nothing of 11PM house calls, yours may not…)
  2. PHOTOS. Don’t just fling. And, by the way, this could take TIME!!!! Take a break. Work a bit at a time. It didn’t get this way in a week, you probably can’t undo it in a week.

PHOTOS: Make sure all your photos are in one folder on C.

Then, make additional folders and label by year (2010, 2009, etc).

Inside each year folder, make a month folder ( 2009-JAN, 2009-FEB, etc)

Gather all photos that are on C, sort by DATE TAKEN. Select all images taken in Feb of 2009 and move to C:Pictures/2009/2009-FEB. (At this moment we are sorting; you don’t need to look at images for whether they are worth keeping. That can come later. Once you have established a system, however, you shouldn’t put ‘bad’ photos in it.)

Do this for all the photos you have. Make a file for photos others have sent you/things you have collected online, etc.

If you find that in May of 2009 you went to cousin Jim’s wedding and took a lot of photos, you can make a folder called 2009-MAY_JimWedding and put those photos in there ( C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY/2009-MAY_JimWedding) The rest of the photos taken in May will simply stay in C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY. You can do this for any special occasion, vacation, etc, where you have a good number of photos of a particular subject (that cutie pie grandchild for example!)

Continue until all photos are in folders, by year and month.

Using your photo viewer, (of whatever type you use, I can’t give specific direction) look at everything, and do this,folder by slow folder:

Fling any photo that is obviously out of focus, dark, blurry, or otherwise an epic fail. If it is with the subjects eyes closed, and the photo following has their eyes open. If the group shot was taken 13 times, save the 2 or 3 that are ok. Do you have images that are really meant for the recycle bin? Then FLING them. Right into the recycle bin. If someone’s expression is good only for blackmail, either blackmail them already or fling it. Not so quickly, however, with photos of YOU. Don’t edit yourself out of the family by being overly critical of images of yourself. Your grandchildren will thank you.

The only reason to save a really bad image is—IT IS THE ONLY PHOTOGRAPH YOU HAVE OF THE EVENT OR THE PERSON. AND IT HAS GREAT HISTORIC SIGNIFANCE. See, that eliminates most of the reasons for saving the bad ones.

Now, Rename the images you have saved. Select all images, and sort by date taken. Find your select all/rename option and call all the images you just sorted through and found worthy: 2009-MAY_JimWedding The program will add a number to the end of that for you automatically.

Next, do photo editing if you do such a thing, burn CD, order prints, send to family, BACK UP images.

Is there any image you would like to print?  Print them. Order prints. Today. Sign up for Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly, or Snapfish or load them back onto a card and take them to Target or to wherever, but get them PRINTED. After all, WHY did you take the picture in the first place?

Burn a CD. Back up in some fashion. Create a second set of these images. Grab a fine point sharpie, LABEL the CD in the center, 2010-JAN, photos. 1 of … . Put the CD into a jewel case, and create a spot to store it. Important images? Maybe  burn a CD that will stay in someone else’s home as well.

Also, create offsite storage online for additional backup protection. Use the online gallery at Kodak (about $20 a year IF you don’t order photos from them) or whichever place floats your boat… Smugmug is my choice. I am thrilled with all the options I have there. My account is at the pro level, but you can purchase lower level accounts (less bells and whistles, but still same storage facilities and ability to print.) Use this coupon code  and save $5.00 if you choose to go with them. PMfvFGKyQzxgg

Whatever you do, don’t trust the fact that you have never had a computer crash. In this age of digital cameras, and every moment being recorded, we have a true opportunity to end up with no images if we are cavalier about their care and storage. Old negatives may be shoved into the backs of dresser drawers, and get scratched and stick together, but they can still be printed. A file, lost in the computer, if not backed up, no longer exists if you haven’t at least printed it, or emailed it to someone or burned a CD/DVD or backed it up in cyber-space.

Now, a quick note about access, then I will leave you alone. Images you have shot belong to YOU. You possess the COPYRIGHT and control whether other people may print it or borrow it, or put it up on their blog. Just as you go to my photo account, you will find you can’t right click and save. Those images are MINE.

Be careful if you are storing/backing up your images someplace like Flickr/Picassa Web/Photobucket/Facebook—the more descriptors you put on the images, the more opportunities you provide for someone to steal your images. You don’t want someone’s innocent child to have photos taken and used in ways that are not appropriate. Choosing a place that has passwords, and that the general public can’t just peer around in is something to consider.

Oh, and by the way? You need to do this to ALL your computers. Good luck!

One month in…

How is your 27 Thing Fling working for you? Are you looking at things differently? Do you find yourself flinging from a spot that we haven’t even started? (Or do you want to leave it solely to be able to count ‘later’? If so, fling it and add it to whatever place you are counting. 🙂 )Are you questioning your purchases?

By the way, this is NOT a ‘no shopping’ exercise. What it is is a ‘Do I NEED it’ exercise, ‘Is it worth working another 5 hours of my life away’ exercise, an ‘Am I buying it because it’s easier than looking for the old one’ exercise, and a ‘Where am I going to put it exercise’….  (Ok, officially exhausted. Haven’t exercised that much in forever!)

I have purchased (other than food, etc) a few pairs of pants, a nice stack of CD’s, some sweaters/tops in colors that I found worked well with my leaner, more organized closet (All from Goodwill. I just LOVE my Goodwill!!!)

And, some Christmas stuff on mega clearance that I KNEW I could use. (Like wrapping paper. Once I make it into the guest room, where the wrapping paper lives, I will be flinging some things there, and HOW could you turn down 90% off?)

Yes, faulty logic, and possibly how my house got to the state it is in. But, being that my Christmas things were just out….

Ah, see how easily we can delude ourselves? (Gotta watch those KNEW/HOW equations. But in this case, I feel confident.)

I bought a few house decorations too. My father was selling this tea set on his site and I couldn’t resist buying it. Its precious, isn’t it? And so me!

patches

So, we are all on the same page, right? This is not about denying yourself, but about trying to find yourself, amidst all the ‘stuff’.

The next category is: File cabinets. Yeah, this one should keep you busy for a while. And what perfect timing, as Tax Season is upon us.

Is your shredder up to the task? And by the way, you don’t get a pass simply because you keep your financial and paper life in something other than a filing cabinet. Any box, basket, drawer or pile otherwise unnamed counts here. But, I will give you a day or so to contemplate this next project.

Because I believe I promised a little deviation to the list.

Its computer clutter. It’s digital images. Let’s grab the bull by the horns, ok? (This is not about past behaviors. We will get to that. Photographs have their own category! We are going to establish new behaviors.)

Tomorrow is February 1. What needs to occur is this: (And for some of you, it’s so much a non-issue, you may not believe I am bothering.)

Get your cameras. All of them, phone too, if you use it as a camera.

FIRST. Have you uploaded all the images you took in ‘JAN 2010’? If not, do so. Create a folder with that date, put everything there. After you take whatever photos you may plan on taking today, Jan 31. (Happy birthday, Andrew!)

NEXT. LOOK at the images. Are there blurry, dark, or other obviously bad images there; images that are really meant for the recycle bin? Then FLING them. Right into the recycle bin.

THIRD. Rename them. I don’t know how to do so particularly in your program or your computer, so I will tell you this–Name all the images 2010-JAN_ Or JAN 2010_ or whatever suits you best. But get the date in there. (If they are all pictures of the cat, then possibly 2010- CAT….) What I am suggesting is ESTABLISH a naming system, and NAME every file in your JAN 2010 picture folder. But only the ones worth keeping.

NOW. Is there any image you would like to print? (If you do photo editing, then insert this step here.) Print them. Order prints. Today. Sign up for Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly, or Snapfish or load them back onto a card and take them to Target or to wherever, but get them PRINTED. After all, WHY did you take the picture in the first place?

LASTLY.  Burn a CD. Back up in some fashion. Create a second set of these images. Grab a fine point sharpie, LABEL the CD in the center, 2010-JAN, photos. 1 of … . Put the CD into a jewel case, and create a spot to store it. Create offsite storage online for additional backup protection. Use the online gallery at Kodak (about $20 a year IF you don’t order photos from them) or whichever place floats your boat… (Smugmug is my choice. REFERRAL LINK GETS YOU a DISCOUNT when you sign up USING THIS LINK ONLY)

Because it is only January, it’s a DOABLE number of photos. Most people take very few images in January. But we are establishing something that is going to be important later in the flinging.

But before I do that, I am heading outside with my camera to take pictures of the snow!!! Looks like a foot or so!