Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Documenting my family's history - Part I

I have been documenting various family, friends, work and events over many years. I am so happy that our paper photo collection as well as the VHS tapes are all on my external hard drive now, thanks to

I owned my very first camera on my life-changing trip to the USA from war torn Beirut. The date was, February 12, 1976. I was flyer to NYC via Pan American Airlines (PanAm). The very first purchase I did on that flight was buying an instamatic camera. Who remembers the instamatic cameras? I am not sure what happened to it. I haven't come across that pocket camera over these 40 years yet. Most probably on my first trip to visit my family, I might have given to my siblings.

When I worked at the United Nations, the very first club I joined was the "Camera Club", which later on changed it's name. Then, that club was vibrant and friendly. Real professionals guiding and teaching. As well as we went on several trips. So I bought my very first professional camera, a FUJICA. Graduated from the instamatic to this manual camera.

Now that all my photos are digitized, the challenge is how to sort and weed them out. I started the process of going thru boxes and envelopes of photos documenting various moments captured over the years. We had 12 shoe boxes full of photos, in addition to two xerox full of photos I found in our storage! Also one xerox box full of VHS tapes!

Getting them digitized was the fastest and easiest part. Weeding them and eliminating all that space they occupy is the hardest and very time consuming. You look at the photos, they evoke emotions and revive memories. Some still so sweet, others remind of the change of heart of some people, you study their expressions and analyze, comparing the past with the present. Disappointments and illusions. However, the best part is, while weeding, I started making piles and keeping those that are dear to my heart. Those moments that still give so much joy to me. Others I kept to remind of some particular moment in time, which is there not for joy, but to remind of some realities and hurts. After all they were part of my life narrative.

There is the weeding of paper copies. Followed by going thru the digital files. Yesterday I spent over three hours just going thru and picking the best of the digitized photos. I plan on writing a book and adding those photos, as part of the narrative.

I will keep you posted of my progress.

I would love to hear from you about your experience: are your photos and videos digitized yet? If they are, how did you go about weeding and keeping only the ones you care about?

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