Today I’m showing off some photos from another long-running project of mine. When dad passed away, I was given the full family archive of photographs. Now, understand that my dad was a prolific photographer but more enthusiastic than, well, good, and organization wasn’t his strong point. So I ended up with literally boxes of albums of prints and negatives from across time, all tossed randomly into boxes and stuffed into storage.
So one of my long term projects — started in 2008 — was to sort through all of this, get it organized, identify and tag people in the metadata, and get it in a form that I can share with the family and use.
To be honest, this project has spent more time sitting than progressing, because emotionally, dealing with the images turned out to be quite tough. And I finally felt ready to tackle it again a few years ago when we lost mom, and I needed another break. But I realized I either had to get it done, or I never would.
When I started this project I went through everything and selected what I felt were the best and most important photos, and I spent a few weeks scanning those and getting them into digital form. When I was done I had about 2,000 images, give or take, including my own private/family collection. There’s about a similar number of unscanned images that I felt didn’t need to be in this first pass, and I may (or may not) dive into those down the road.
And there it mostly sat. Every so often I’d dig in for an hour or two and sort them or identify and tag people or locations. Last fall, I decided that getting this done so I could surprise the family with the images for Christmas was a good reason to get serious, so I did just that. Over the course of about two weeks I selected what I considered the best of the images, ending up with the first batch of 400.
I then went and cleaned up and reprocessed each one, and did the metadata updates. It’s a grind, but a worthy one. I should not that I cleaned up images, but didn’t repair or retouch them, so if their were flaws or damage, that stayed. Images got more or less the same kind of enhancement I give my own new images, so that what I ended up with was representative of what I found.
After that, I took those 400 images, exported them as JPEG, threw out the versions I’d worked on, re-imported them into Lightroom again, and then I had my final masters of this set (and yes, I know some of you are now throwing stuff at your computers because I’m tossing out history and data: shrug. it had no value to me and could only cause questions/problems later).
I then set about to create a book of these images, using Blurb. I then also created USB sticks with the images on them, and so at Christmas, everyone got their own hardcover book with the images and a USB stick they could use to load copies onto their own systems as well. I also have them on my Smugmug site behind a password for family friends (if you are one of those and don’t have access, email me).
I’m really happy with how it turned out. The quality of the blurb book and how it reproduced the images was quite good.
So, now all I need to do is repeat that three or four more times… But now that the first is done, the rest will be easier since I won’t have to invent the process.
Most of the images are of interest only to family so I’m leaving them private, but some of them I thought would be fun to show off and talk about a bit. For your amusement, a bit of a trip down memory lane….
First, Mom and Dad, who I still miss every day.
And one of the things they were proudest of was when their marriage hit 50 years, and so they threw themselves a big party and invited all their friends.
I grew up about 20 minutes from Disneyland and since my dad ran a newspaper, we got passes and invites to events on a fairly regular basis, so visiting the park was a regular activity for the family. Turns out there are a number of historic images in our collection.
Circa 1960, with the Skyway landing in the background, this seems to be in the area near the autopia.
Jungle Cruise, roughly 1962
Also 1962 in Fantasyland
Main Street, 1962
Up in the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, 1962
At first glance this might look like Knott’s Berry Farm (down the road in Buena Park), but this is from the old Indian Village in what is now the area near Splash Mountain. Estimating this to be late 1950’s.
Knott’s Berry Farm
This, on the other hand, is Knott’s Berry farm. I am guessing this to be late 1950’s.
Some really strange looking nerd
I have no explanation for why this stranger keeps showing up in our photos
Pictures on the first day of school were a family tradition. So were lunchboxes (and broken thermos’). And this year, my lunchbox was all about Flipper. (god help me, at least it wasn’t Gillgan’s Island).
And while the lunchbox this year is blurred, I can tell you what it’s about: Thunderbirds are Go!, the super-marination SF series. Already a nerd, proudly.
The costume: YMCA Y-Indian Guide. Sort of like Boy Scouts but without the weird hazing rituals.
Dad caught this as I was headed for a training ride out to the coast and back — about a century. In the rain. Because at that point, I was almost an athlete, although never a really talented one.
Seattle World’s Fair Trip, 1962
In 1962, Seattle held a World’s Fair, and my family piled into the station wagon and drove up the coast and back for a vacation. I was not yet four, so to be honest, I don’t remember it at all.
Except… One thing I’ve found is that a lot of places I ended up really loving as an adult were places I seem to have visited as a really young person and didn’t know I’d been there until I found the visits in these images. Really made me think about what that might mean…
On board the Kalakala, a historic ferry from the Seattle area. It was an Art Deco wonder that plowed Puget Sound. More about that on Wikipedia.
Somewhere along 101 in Oregon. I believe that cow is still there.
Aboard the Kalakala, with the Space Needle in the background
And once more, somewhere along 101, this is I believe in the northern parts of California
Crater lake, not 1962, but a later trip in the late 1960’s.
A gift of mine to my mom many years ago, now hanging proudly back in my office. Yes, I have been known to commit needlepoint.
Christmas at the family place. Mom was a decorator. A serious decorator. She had holiday kits to decorate the house for twelve different holidays — but Christmas was another thing completely.
Remember how I said photos on the first day of school were a thing? Doesn’t my sister look thrilled?
Not absolutely sure of the location, but I believe this was an amusement park called the Pike in Long Beach, dated around 1960. It went through a long decline and disappeared in 1979.