Posts Tagged With: ancestors

HOOKED ON OLD PHOTOS

I’ll have to admit I’ve become fascinated by aspects of the old photos I’m working with. It should come as no surprise because out on the road I’ve looked at other peoples old photos in museums or old houses and they have this compelling attraction. What really affects me is seeing  unknown faces sweetly sad or sincere staring at me in a second hand store-discarded.

Seeing them gives you a small glimmer into what life was like. Wearing dresses buttoned up high on the neck would drive me nuts. Tight, scratchy and less comfortable materials than we are used to, besides. And the hat. I once tried to copy my aunt’s hat in paper for a fourth grade project. I think I still have a picture of it and now I’m bent on finding it and seeing how well I did.

Somehow, I didn’t see this picture of my mother and a boyfriend of hers until she was 79 years old. It was given to her by a friend who didn’t want to throw it away. It brought gales of laughter to both of us. My dignified mother in this funny pose. I never thought of my mom acting like a typical young girl. Older photos tend to be so serious.

Everyone called me a “Tomboy” when I was growing up.  Now I see where I got it from. I loved climbing trees, but in a skirt and hat? Not on your life!  What a hoot to see Aunt Alice up a tree. Now, I’m thinking, I should resort to having my picture taken doing something silly so my great grandchildren can laugh at me.

Here is my uncle Myron in a “formal” photograph. Boys then were dressed in dresses until they no longer needed diapers. He was very special to my grandmother because he was her first son. My grandmother lost six children that were still born before his birth. That figure alone boggles my mind.

And, look at that fancy chair! The fancy chairs and props the studios used in those days for photos also fascinates me. Some of you know I take pictures of chairs where ever I go. 

Then Jim reminded me I already have some pretty silly photos. This one, an imitation of Minny Pearl while we were shopping for a hat for him.

And, here I am up a tree picking apples last year. But somehow, I don’t think I look silly. Aunt Alice probably didn’t think she looked sillY either. Time will tell.
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OLD AND NEW PHOTO RESCUE

Last year Jim transferred his slides and family photos to digital format by scanning them and saving them on his computer. When we visited his family this year, in August, he gave a slide show of family pictures. Now he is scanning my family photos to my computer so that I can do the same.

I have an original of this photo of my great grandfather and his siblings. The French way is to leave a space for a loved one deceased as you can see in the back row.

About 15 years ago, I took my 35 millimeter camera and zeroed in on individuals in the picture using 400 speed film with a 55 millimeter lens. My equipment was not expensive, professional stuff, but they turned out quite well and scanned well, too. I like the idea of getting a closer view of my ancestors faces.

In 2004, at a family reunion, my cousin allowed me to choose from among her mother’s pictures and had them made for me. They were beautiful black and whites. I hadn’t looked at them in several years and much to my dismay, discovered they were like proofs, beginning to fade and chemically turn purple. I have no idea where she had them done but the paper seems to be quality photo paper. My point is, check your vintage photos. Since digital arrived on the scene, computerized photo reproduction may not be as stable as in the old days.

Some of the snap shots are quite small. Even so, they show up quite well on a full computer screen, and better yet on your television.
When Jim did his family slide show, he hooked his computer to their family television set. Without too much difficulty, most newer television sets will accept a connection. Then the family enjoyed the show together.


Color pictures are also digitally rewarding. There was a time when I would have considered this method of rescuing pictures as inadequate because I envisioned losing them in cyber space. Now, I know different. I can actually edit them in a computer program and enhance the originals, yet your computer saves both the originals and the enhancement. I haven’t done that with any of these family photos, but I have recently learned to do that with my current photos and I like the improvements.
Plus, you can save then to a disc where the pictures do not tear or fade and hand them out to other family members economically. You can print them out from your disc and also give a slide show from the disc inside your computer. Be warned that anything saved on a disc needs to be re-saved in 10 or so years. Disc quality is not yet permanent, although I’ve been told there is an archival quality disc now available.

Saving your old and current photos on computer into separate “albums” allows you to be creative and separate a temporary “show” from a permanent one; to view a specific event like your grand kids soccer game, or a graduation or wedding. You can selectively mix pictures from one event with another event if you choose.  And, my last point is using the digital picture frame. I never thought I’d want to program a limited number of pictures into it and watch them cycle all day over and over again. I was so wrong. I love my digital picture frame and I don’t sit it on the mantel and let it cycle all day. I download my photos on these cheap little flash drives, ($5.), and plug it into the frame. One day I might enjoy the horses and puppies, etc. at Michele Boulets’ rescue ranch. Or another day watch the beautiful glass pieces from the Sandwich glass museum cycle by; or laugh at the Halloween costumes my kids wore when they were little.

I hadn’t dug out my albums in years. Now I’m enjoying my pictures so much more.

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