I’ve at long last made a start on clearing out the ‘photo box’ which we got from the family home now that the ‘old folks’ have passed-on.
There are many hundreds of snapshots-in-time recorded. I imagine that many have not seen the light of day for many decades, and unfortunately many are now of no historical value because there is no record of names, locations or dates to give a clue as to why they were thought valuable enough to keep in a box for over 50 years.
Some are obviously of severe old great-grandparents staring out at us from the 19th century. Stiff collars and suits for the men, and long dresses and rolled-up hair-styles for the ladies. Even our grandparents and parents dresses relatively formally for holidays. I even have a photo of my father ploughing with a shirt and tie!
The early photos were obviously relatively expensive and only taken for specific reasons and occasions. They appear to be of high quality and the detail is remarkable. The only problem is that we cannot easily see behind the starched image, and it is only within the last 50 years that we begin to see a relaxation in the photos. Photography had become cheaper, with the Kodak Brownie camera with the miniature photos, and although they were all in black-and-white we could imagine the colour.
Now that digital photography is in the hands of everyone, we can take hundreds of photos on holiday and then select what we want to retain, so that we only keep the very best to put on a disc or send to friends. But how often will we look at them? It’s also difficult to carry the laptop around to show photos to friends or work colleagues.
So we will have recorded a marvellous fund of historical information for future generations of the family and those who want to research the past. But are they the ones we would like to keep to record our existence?