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Monday, September 17, 2007

I have been feeling the urge to organize my photo collections

One thing I promised myself that I would do once radiation was over with last year (and am holding myself to it) was to organize and scan all of my mom's and my photos. I don't know if it is the need to revisit life's happenings (I could totally skip ages 13-17, thank you very much) or the urge to simply peel my mom's photos off of her 'magnetic' photo albums once and for all (one is brand named 'Valiant' - oh, yeah, it is hanging on to every one of those 60's era Polaroids and not giving them up). I visited a photo store here in Omaha - Archiver's - and bought her a new, safe, acid-free photo album that will hold her pictures that I can pry off of the Valiant. For those photos that won't pry off intact, I am scanning the entire pages into a graphics software, and cropping like a mad woman to make individual photos, enlarging and smoothing out the old scratches along the way.
If you are interested in taking on photo editing, there is a free class at Cnet on Scanning Photo Basics:
. The class also mentions a free editing software download: IrfanView4
. I have not used this - I use iPhoto, and am considering Adobe Photoshop Elements for the Mac (just considering, haven't bought it yet.)
Whatever you do, make sure you keep a backup of the photos (your safe deposit box has room for a few CDs), and add captions somewhere so a year from now folks will not have to wonder "is that Uncle or his wife or the neighbor at the old 5th Street house?". If you have digitized a collection of photos, and would like to publish them in a book format to give to loved ones, there are services on the Internet for that, called print-on-demand. iPhoto (a Mac program) encourages creation of photo albums/books and uploading to a professional printer for not a lot of money (30pages in a hard bound book under $50): I have purchased 4 of these for retirement and presentation gifts at work, and they are beautifully constructed. The online photo site Shutterfly has photo books for sale, and Flickr has partnered up to offer many products with which you can publish your photos. Picaboo (love that name),
Lulu, and Viovio
all offer similar services.
We all have a story in us, and maybe the diagnosis of cancer has pushed your urge to share your story with loved ones and future generations to the front. Hopefully, these print-on-demand services will help you share it while highlighting your own personal style.


Jeanne said...

Teri--good idea! I'm going to be teaching a writing workshop for people with metastatic cancer starting in October, and I'll pass along the suggestions for making photo books as well.


Jeanne said...

Did my comment disappear? Jeanne

Teresa Hartman said...

Thanks, Jeanne, I am glad the photo books tips are useful. The iPhoto ones that I have ordered are TOP drawer - very nice gifts.
No, your comment didn't disappear. I have the 'moderate' function on, since some folks have seen fit to post comments on their thoughts on why I have cancer. I really appreciate the readership, but don't want to be told how I caught this stuff because of my being bad (or even worse, my parents' being bad - guess it is 'the sins of the fathers' theory). Maybe the fact that one of Nebraska's senators has chosen to sue God will side-track them off of why I was 'cursed' with this disease.

Siobhan said...

Make sure that every now and again you recopy your CD's. Or update the format - are we ready to put photos on DVDs yet?

Teresa Hartman said...

Thanks, Siobhan - you are absolutely correct! That is why I only mentioned a year time frame in the post - once a year, someone should look at the format the backups are stored on, and assess if they need to be brought up to a newer format, such as DVD. A person wouldn't want to wait too long to do this - ask anyone that have their music library on 8-track tapes if they can access their files anymore...

Anonymous said...


I couldn't find an email for you, so I'm posting here. Hope you don't mind.

Microspaulas are the perfect tool for rescuing photos from those horrible sticky magnetic photo albums. I call them The Chemical Sandwich of Doom.

Congrats on tackling your large family photo project. As I've said on my can do this. Seriously, you can. Baby steps.

Too keep you motivated, I'd like to send you a microspatula with my compliments. Send me an email if you'd like a free rescue kit! sally (at)

Warm regards,

-Sally J.
The Practical Archivist

Teresa Hartman said...

Thank you so much, Sally J. For those that want to check out Sally J's blog, it is

Who links to my website?