The Shoemaker Has Time

"To observe attentively is to remember distinctly."
-Edgar Allan Poe 

I haven't always been a professional photographer but I've always documented life in photos, especially when it dealt with raising three boys.

My Three Sons
As I shelter in place with my family under one roof again, I have slowed down considerably and now have time to reflect.

My photo filing system

As such, I realize that if I had a client ask me for a particular photo from a specific time, it would probably take a matter of minutes to find said photo.

My professional photos are cataloged by year, date, time, keywords, backed up on multiple external hard drives, clouds and websites.

But can I say the same thing about my family photos?

You know where this is going right?

"The shoemaker's children always go barefoot"

Yes I'll be the first to admit, I have to type in the names of each kid and painfully review thousands of files to find their digital pictures. And don't forget about last year's blog post when I described how I paid a tech company $1000 to learn an expensive lesson about backing up my data.

If I'm looking for pictures from that era where we sent them off to Kodak to print, the filing system is pretty dismal and consists of plastic shoeboxes with no sense of order.

My paper photo "filing system"

Don't get me wrong, we have some photo books of specific vacations, we have old school photo albums where the printed pictures are on display behind yellowing plastic, but do I really want my boys to have to rifle through that mess to remember their childhood?

I recently had a brief conversation with my three sons about preserving memories. As I have alluded to, I'm concerned that the highlights of their lives are mostly in my digital files and that they will lose access to them as they grow older and move on with their adult lives.

So I asked each one how they would like to have their childhood pictures. Here were the responses:

Eldest Son (college art student; almost 21 yrs): 
"I want them in the traditional photographic form, like a scrapbook."
Collage of eldest son from birth to present day

Middle Son (destined to serve in the Navy; almost 18 yrs): 
"I want them in both ways, digital and hardcopy."
Collage of middle son from birth to present day

Youngest Son (our resident gamer; 15 yrs): 
"No scrapbooks, just plant the USB in my head."
Collage of youngest son from birth to present day

Needless to say, I'm not photographing many clients these days, so I have time to find and organize those precious family photos. I may even pull out the three scrapbooks that are still brand new from a purchase over a decade ago.

Who knows perhaps I can even get three young men to slow down and design their own memory books.

Are you keeping track of your memories? Or do you need a reminder, like I did, to take some time to organize your family legacy?

"Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved. " 
-Thomas Fuller

Laura Hatcher is a retired Naval Officer, Mother, Harley Rider and Published Professional Photographer located in Northern Virginia.  Her Studio is on 218 North Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

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