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Subject: "Are we losing our memories? " Previous topic | Next topic
TashSt Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for her great compositional insight and talent, as she is always willing to experiment with new perspectives. This is particularly evident in the exceptional, captivating images she posts in the Nude Forum where she always shares in the Nikonians spirit.
Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2011Mon 22-Jul-13 01:36 AM
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"Are we losing our memories? "


AU
          

I was sorting through a big old box of random photos collected by various family members over the last century. There are grainy black and white shots that help us estimate dates, shots with people dressed in funny clothes.. shots of long gone babies and proud parents... and it struck me that my kids, grandkids,etc will never get this chance.

"Possibly more than 80% of all amateur images taken in the first decade of this century will not exist by 2050"

and it's the 'amateur' images that are about life.. it's those images that we can take an honest look into the past. There's little environmental planning, very little photo manipulation.. they are just real and honest moments in time.

Maybe it's the dust from this old box, maybe it's the musty smell, but I have something in my eye...




www.impressstphotography.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
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snegron Silver Member
22nd Jul 2013
1
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Omaha
22nd Jul 2013
2
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Lolrogge Silver Member
22nd Jul 2013
3
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benveniste Moderator
22nd Jul 2013
4
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Omaha
22nd Jul 2013
5
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NickMilner Gold Member
22nd Jul 2013
6
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Omaha
22nd Jul 2013
8
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benveniste Moderator
22nd Jul 2013
9
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Omaha
22nd Jul 2013
12
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kennoll Gold Member
22nd Jul 2013
13
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blw Moderator
22nd Jul 2013
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blw Moderator
22nd Jul 2013
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Covey22 Moderator
22nd Jul 2013
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agitater Gold Member
22nd Jul 2013
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Omaha
23rd Jul 2013
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Covey22 Moderator
23rd Jul 2013
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agitater Gold Member
23rd Jul 2013
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Brent Melton Silver Member
23rd Jul 2013
15
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TashSt Silver Member
23rd Jul 2013
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coolmom42 Silver Member
23rd Jul 2013
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Omaha
24th Jul 2013
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snegron Silver Member Nikonian since 05th May 2007Mon 22-Jul-13 02:02 AM
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#1. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Cape Coral, Florida, US
          

I share your grief! I too have several boxes of old family photographs tucked away. Ironically, I am in the process of scanning all of them to "save them" from the effects of deterioration. Unfortunately I haven't been printing much lately; I haven't had the chance to shoot anything worthy of print.

  

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Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012Mon 22-Jul-13 02:04 AM
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#2. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Omaha, US
          

I remember my grandmother sitting down with my daughters, going through her old family albums.

What will my daughters show to THEIR great-grand daughters?

Visit my Nikonians gallery
Most of my Nikon photos end up here.

  

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Lolrogge Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Apr 2012Mon 22-Jul-13 02:29 AM
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#3. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Ayden, US
          

If we do not do something, not only will our older family photos be lost; but we will lose many of the digital images we shoot. I have decided to prepare a set of photo books, and have them printed, for my children. I am also passing on copies of the digital files. I plan for my grand children to have images going back five generations.

This is the only way I know to pass on our memories.

Laverne

  

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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Mon 22-Jul-13 12:31 PM
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#4. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Boston Area, US
          

"Possibly more than 80% of all amateur images taken in the first decade of this century will not exist by 2050"

At a guess, 50-60% of the images I take don't last a week before being deleted. I wasn't quite as ruthless in the film era, but over 40-50 years I doubt the percentage of "survivors" ever approached 20%. I would guess that the survival rate for tape recordings and super 8mm movies would be even lower.

"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012Mon 22-Jul-13 01:22 PM
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#5. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 4


Omaha, US
          

Some years ago, I archived all my photos on to VHS tape for my grandkids to see.

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NickMilner Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2013Mon 22-Jul-13 01:35 PM
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#6. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 5


Manchester, GB
          

>Some years ago, I archived all my photos on to VHS tape for
>my grandkids to see.

And now they probably have no idea what VHS is! A good reminder that *all* media becomes obsolete eventually.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012Mon 22-Jul-13 02:32 PM
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#8. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 6


Omaha, US
          

Anticipating precisely that problem, I also archived my photos on 8" floppy disks.

Visit my Nikonians gallery
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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Mon 22-Jul-13 02:32 PM
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#9. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 6


Boston Area, US
          

And now they probably have no idea what VHS is! A good reminder that *all* media becomes obsolete eventually.

My half-joke about this goes as follows:

  • To preserve a record for a year requires no effort.
  • To preserve a record for a decade requires technological planning.
  • To preserve a record for a century requires legal planning.
  • To preserve a record for a millenium requires a religious order.

"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012Mon 22-Jul-13 04:22 PM
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#12. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 9


Omaha, US
          

LOL! Perfect!

I had occasion a few months ago to put together a slide show (ok...it was a digital slide show...funny how the names we give things are more persistent than the technology) for my mother in law's funeral.

I was handed a shoebox full of old pictures. Many of them were taken by her father when she was very young. By and large, they were just fine. In fact, a few of them were so cool that I decided to re-create them. That's been a fun project in itself.

My grandmother had a bunch of old albums that she inherited from her family. The somewhat tragic part of it was that no one knew who about half of the people were.

Which indirectly goes to Brian's point about no one caring. We flatter ourselves that we are interesting, but the admonitions of history suggest otherwise. With few exceptions, no one 100 years from now will care about us, and they will be confined to whatever direct descendants we may happen to have. To anyone else, I'm just a guy living in Omaha in 2013. Maybe my photo will be interesting, but only in the sense that I happen to be standing in front of some historic building, or whatever.

We are all as disposable as the Snapchat pictures my daughters take every day.

FWIW, its my view that if one wants to create photographs with the intent that they be passed into the future, the most important thing is to make it easy for people to convey them thus. By which I mean (a) print them out (unless you can see it with your own eyes without benefit of any technology, it doesn't exist), (b) index them in some manner where you at least identify the basics of who/what/where/when and (c) package them in a way that is convenient for generations of folks to lug around as they move from here to there in the course of their lives. To me, that means some sort of album which is itself stored in some sort of proper slipcase.

And the whole business should probably be replicated two or three times and passed out to different people. Maybe then there is a chance that some of the photos will survive 100 years or more.

By way of counter-example, my mother started a monstrous photo album in the early 1960's where she would paste photographs in a discarded wallpaper sample book. My kids love pouring through it, but it is so unwieldy that I wonder if anyone will bother with it after she is gone.

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kennoll Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2011Mon 22-Jul-13 07:31 PM
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#13. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 6


Seattle, US
          

>>Some years ago, I archived all my photos on to VHS tape
>for
>>my grandkids to see.
>
>And now they probably have no idea what VHS is! A good
>reminder that *all* media becomes obsolete eventually.

I would have to disagree that "all" media becomes obsolete. How about the printed page? Whether printed images or printed words. You find that box of photos or a loved ones diary. Personal recipes. Love letters. All manner of what some person, someone close to us deemed important enough to preserve on paper. Going through these things makes me feel a little closer to the authors.

There are great edifices througout the world dedicated to the printed page. From ancient scrolls to current manuscripts. Hardcopy, including words, images, and I'll add art, whether oil, watercolor, pencil, etc.

After reading the posts in this stream I am inclined to sort through my digital catalog and sort out and print those images that represent my families trip through life. Make that box of photos that my kids can show their kids. Not the artsy-fartsy stuff but those images that have meaning to my family. They don't need to be 8x10 or 16x20 sizes, 4x6's will do just fine.

I think paper will be around for a long, long time. And, one doesn't need a special device and/or app to derive the benefit of what is on paper.

Now where's a nice sturdy box....

Ken
Seattle, WA
My Gallery

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 22-Jul-13 02:21 PM
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#7. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 22-Jul-13 03:52 PM by blw

Richmond, US
          

I'd guess that 80% of amateur images taken in the 1960s don't exist now. I'm pretty certain, for example, that many fewer than 80% of the photographs taken by my parents exist today. We probably have fewer than 50 frames from the 1950s-1960s, which obviously is far less than ten boxes of film for the Polaroid. I have a total of zero frames from the various Kodak cameras that weren't shot by me personally. (But of the latter, I probably have close to 100%.)

I've scanned all of the ones I can find, from both sides of the family.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 22-Jul-13 03:51 PM
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#10. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Actually thinking about this a bit more, I think that most of the reason that such a large proportion of images are lost is their perceived value, rather than technical considerations. I'm a historian by education and also part-time as an avocation, as well as a (digital) storage architect by trade. Here are three examples that I regard as illustrative:

- a few years ago, I had just spent a week digging through an archive of old railroad documents and had pieced together the story of how a particular small-town station had come to be in a very unusual place, a bit outside of town and surprisingly far from the tracks. The story involved the ownership of various land plots, the price of mineral rights at the time, and half a dozen other local issues. My second day back to work after the week of "vacation," one of my colleagues and I were discussing the design of newspapers (for a library), and he suggested that we not archive the classified advertisements, "since nobody will care about the price of a 1999 Honda Accord in 2007." After having just sifted through perhaps literally a ton of such documents from the 1930s, I couldn't have disagreed more. (We did eventually archive every byte.)

- I realize now that I am in possession of all of the photographs taken by my children as they were growing up. (They are old enough to have taken material numbers on film.) They do not treat these as archival, sociological or even particularly family records. I suppose that for one of them, a chemist and a technologist, that is not too surprising. The other, rather surprisingly, is a historian by both trade and education, so I am surprised at this situation.

- Back in university, I majored in history and computer science. The social scientists thought that I was nuts for taking the hard computer science classes. The engineers thought always asked me why I was majoring in such "irrelevant" subjects as history. After all, more than of them said, it has nothing to do with Snobol, core memory, or the IBM 360 instruction set... (I found it important to understand the historical context of things, even whilst working on software, let alone during the other hours of the day when I was not.) Given this silo-style thinking (two examples of which are cited above), it is hardly surprising that the world has lost many of its memories.

I have no idea what Kodak/Ilford/Fuji produced for film quantities, but I have to assume it must have been billions of frames per year. How many frames do most of us have from our non-photographer families and friends?

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberMon 22-Jul-13 03:55 PM
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#11. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I was sorting through a big old box of random photos collected by various family members over the last century. There are grainy black and white shots that help us estimate dates, shots with people dressed in funny clothes..

Actually, they'll always be ways to tell what estimated time period a photo might have been taken, even a bad smartphone "selfie." If all that's left of an electronic image that's been stripped of any header or EXIF information, there's always forensic clues that can tell us something - even if people blow up the fuzzy bathroom counter reflected in the background to see what hair products were in use.

Truth be told, previous generations have had to wrestle with the same problems we do today - in the early days of photography, it would have cost a small fortune to duplicate hard plate emulsions. Smaller and cheaper film brought down per frame costs but was still too fragile for average user storage "standards." Those albums accumulated in the meantime brought a glimpse of the storage, cataloging and preservation dilemma we're facing today as we transitioned fully to digital. Any memories, whether hardcopy or not are all subject to loss and degradation. The answer for our generation (not chronological but rather all of us who are charged with preserving these memories as photographers and family archivists) is most likely a mix of online and offline storage.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Mon 22-Jul-13 10:32 PM
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#14. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Toronto, CA
          

The tradition of maintaining family photo albums may be giving way to a number of other forms of family history preservation. As entities such as Ancestry.com and Facebook evolve (or are acquired or metastasize or whatever they`re going to do over the next couple of decades), the growth of online genealogy is going to speed up at an even greater pace that it is already accelerating.

Being able to see family history in the context of the times, e.g., family photos posted in a genealogical context complete with descriptions, all of it hosted at existing online accounts in social strata like Facebook, defaulted to private settings, may very well be the way to think of the future of all this.

Photographers who are concerned about the demise of the traditional photo print album should start doing more printing - a lot more - if they`re not going to (or aren`t interested in) embracing online albuming and online genealogical hosting. That said, I frankly think that once Zuckerberg et al at Facebook realize the value in developing a module or app that can be used in Facebook specifically to create a family tree complete with descriptions and private access to family photos, there`ll be no looking back.

I might have missed my guess-prediction here, but I doubt it.

The absence of printed copies of every single photo (i.e., prints and slides) we made, and something more permanent than sloppily backed up (or not backed up) digital images has to appear. I think that Facebook is quite likely to acquire a genealogy company for just that reason. It`s a natural fit IMO.

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Howard Carson

  

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Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012Tue 23-Jul-13 02:32 AM
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#16. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 14


Omaha, US
          

I think you are right on the money here... but the whole business is still predicated on the institutional persistence of Facebook. What are the odds that that data will still be recoverable in fifty or one hundred years? Maybe the LDS Church will buy them out of bankruptcy court in a few years...FWIW my teenage daughters have largely abandoned FB just as they abandoned Myspace a "generation" ago. I don't expect them to last long term.

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberTue 23-Jul-13 03:00 AM
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#17. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 16


US
          

Facebook isn't characteristic of this up & coming generation (i.e., the ones in the 12-18 y/o range). I took a quick glance at my daughter's peers (they are in the above age bracket) in terms of app use, and they all use apps like Tumblr - still a Social Media channel, but much varied in terms of use models. A lot of it also has to do with kids now being limited by age restrictions within the application or site itself. Those who honestly answered they were under 18 were immediately locked out by the application's business logic unless they built another account or they reach of age. Facebook is actually for "old" people - old in this case being 21ish or so above, to which I laugh heartily since I sprouted gray hairs and officially joined middle age a couple of years ago. Ah youth.

Facebook has a long way to to go before they think of genealogy. Really their next target market is the developing world where Smartphones are a rarity but feature phones abound. They get that right, that's another couple of hundred million eyeballs they can sell to advertisers. Figuring out how to get a data hungry and UI intensive app to work on a lean phone will take them a while.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 23-Jul-13 03:21 AM
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#18. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 16


Toronto, CA
          

Just as many, many people never took very many family photos pre-digital, there are now all sorts of people who don't care at all about doing something family-oriented with digital photos.

There seems to be some sense out there that a cultural or moral imperative exists with respect to the preservation of photos. For individual families, I agree. But everything else that has happened and continues to happen throughout the world is very thoroughly recorded and preserved.

I say back it all up to the cloud. That is one of the ways to future-proof everything against media format changes. Local backups are necessary too. Just as we had to take care to avoid storing slides and prints in damp basements, so too do we now have to ensure that we have a backup stored in a safe place that is readily accessible. Just as we used to keep irreplaceable slides or prints in a safety deposit box, so too do we now have to backup additionally to the cloud.

Same needs, different methods. I've read more articles recently, similar to the one quoted by the OP, and I've found the articles to be long on scary possibilities but very short on verifiable facts.

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Howard Carson

  

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Brent Melton Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Apr 2012Tue 23-Jul-13 01:35 AM
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#15. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Denton, US
          

I have asked myself many times what is going to happen with old family photos and photos taken now. I started scanning all the family photos I could find about five years ago. I went through all my Mother's albums before she passed away and an Aunt's albums. To date I have scanned over 3,000 old photos beginning from about 1900 through about 1970. I burned discs and gave to many of my relatives. I have them backed up to external hard drives and disc and have printed many of them. I have given photo albums to my grandsons with quite a few old family photos and they loved them. I also have them online in a photo sharing site so all my relatives have access to them anytime. I will continue to update as I come across more. I am printing 4x6 prints and organizing in albums for myself. It has been a time consuming project, but very fulfilling and much appreciated by my family. There is a quote from B.B. King at his Blues Museum in Indianola, Mississippi that says "I would give just about any amount of money to have a picture of my Mother". I want to make sure there are plenty of pictures for my future family so they can have a picture of past family members.

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TashSt Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for her great compositional insight and talent, as she is always willing to experiment with new perspectives. This is particularly evident in the exceptional, captivating images she posts in the Nude Forum where she always shares in the Nikonians spirit.
Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2011Tue 23-Jul-13 05:43 AM
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#19. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


AU
          

who would have thought my evening musings would create such interesting conversation.

www.impressstphotography.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 01st Dec 2011Tue 23-Jul-13 11:55 AM
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#20. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


McEwen, US
          

Late to the conversation....but like someone else here, I am working on making photo books, primarily of family photos. It's easy to date and identify.

working on it in Middle TN
Nikon D3100

35 mm 1.8 Nikkor
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Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012Wed 24-Jul-13 03:58 PM
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#21. "RE: Are we losing our memories? "
In response to Reply # 0


Omaha, US
          

This is a bit of a drift off the topic, but speaking of family memories...

I found this first photo in a shoebox full of them that I was asked to scan for my mother in law's funeral. I thought it was a great shot. That's my mother in law with her mother, around 1940.



I decided to re-create it with my daughter and her son. Here is that result:



That is my father in law's car. I think he enjoyed the shoot, and it was nice getting him involved. He's been a bit depressed after losing his wife.

This one has a decent chance of at least intermediate-term survival: I produced three framed copies (one for my house, one for my daughter, one for my father in law).

Or not. Either way, it was a great joy to produce it.

Visit my Nikonians gallery
Most of my Nikon photos end up here.

  

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