Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digitize Me
By Michael

All to be turned into ones and zeroes...
Tonight, all of my life in pictures, about 2000 prints, are in a USPS truck, somewhere between Washington, D.C. and West Berlin, New Jersey.
These include prints of model planes taken by the 10-year-old me with 110 film. Prints of family vacations, parachute jumps, my first motorcycle, my second motorcycle, cars I've loved, and women who were part of my life. Prints of scuba diving trips and waterski trips and friends with whom I've lost contact. Prints of the first Del Viento and the cruising adventure that inspires us today. Prints of Windy when she was still a relative stranger, our early life together, our Humboldt apartment, and our Mexico engagement. Prints of our first house and our early efforts to fix it up...prints of my life up until 2001 when we bought our first digital camera.
For about 11 cents a print, a company called FotoBridge is going to scan them and send them back to me with a DVD containing the digital files. I think I will destroy or give away all but a very few of the prints I get back. It's much easier to view and share digital photos. Once I get these uploaded as digital albums on our Kodak Gallery site, I look forward to sending links to folks who have forgotten these photos exist, folks who shared all of these experiences with me. Isn't that what they're for?
Of course, the point of all this is the 9 bulky, empty photo albums Windy and the girls brought to the Goodwill today. Spring feels like it is around the corner and we're deep into down-sizing mode. Windy's on a tear with her Craigslist app. A framing nailer, computer armoire, maple table, and two fire wood racks are gone. Hundreds of books sold and given away. All of our CDs are digitized and gone.
If the FotoBridge experiment with my life's memories is successful, Windy says her pictures can go too. That's about 9 more albums gone, less stuff to sell, give away, or move. We are indeed getting lighter and it feels like progress.


  1. I recently tackled this project as well- but I scanned them in myself, so that I could organize them and save the files very specifically, with the name of the person, the year, etc- a mix of archiving and genealogy I suppose :) It took me about 6 weeks, and I did about 5,000 photos. I sorted and organized the prints and gave most of them away to those who wanted them, and then for Christmas I made picture DVD's and mailed them to about 20 family members and friends. People loved those gifts, and I would suggest doing something similar- it is simple and frugal but very meaningful in this digital age for me to send my grandmother thousands of pictures on a DVD, organized according to year and event and family members...

    It is such peace of mind to not be hauling two huge boxes of pictures, terrified of a fire wiping out our family history all the way back to my Great Granny's great grandmother. I'm about to turn 28, and I've been hauling pictures around since I was 18. So glad I finally took care of it! I'm glad you are doing it as well, you'll love the freedom of having everything digitized.

  2. Hi guys!
    How did the photos turn out? Were you pleased with the results? Did they get scanned in the order you sent them? I'm almost ready to send in my endless stacks of photos and FotoBridge sounds like the best deal around. Thanks for doing the research!

  3. Verena, Yes, got them back and they are excellent. In fact, all of the recent posts that feature pics of our 1990's cruising are the digital files that they sent back. Everything was packaged nicely and the DVD included two files for each pic: a low-res version and a high-res version. No pics missing, quality good, no complaints. We just sent in all of Windy's pics. A couple days later, I found about 100 more pics and called to ask if I could add them to the order and they said no problem. Thank you for asking. Michael


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