Saving Family Photos

When I was young, I was sitting in my parent’s living room and looking through the photo albums that my mom had created. They spanned generations, from my Great Great Grandmother’s family, to me when I was young holding a towel around me after swimming in a lake. My dad always seemed to have a camera around his neck when we travelled, and while we didn’t travel out of state often, we did try to explore different parts of Oregon, and every year we went hunting and my dad would take pictures.


Storage for personal photos has never been exactly up to archival standards. People use photo albums that have a plastic cover and a sticky back. While it does help to keep the photos from moving, over time the glue degrades the photos and yellows the glue and eventually the photos. Before that people would glue photos into a photo album, or in some cases even to paper that was then put into a binder. While even old photos were usually good quality, over time these storage methods can degrade and, in some cases, even destroy the photo.


Today, most things are digital, including hundreds of thousands of photos taken daily using cell phones and digital cameras. This is helping grow the collective history, whether people like the “selfie” generation style photos or not.  As a cultural historian, these photos show what life is like now, just as photos taken in the middle of the century showed what life was like then. The method may have changed, but the result is the same.


As our ancestors have passed away, many younger individuals are left with photo albums and are not sure what to do with them. Add that to our increased mobility and this history gets donated to thrift stores or sold at garage sales because there isn’t a place for large photo albums anymore.


This is how Schellinger Research and other digitization companies can help. When people think of digitization, they think large scale for businesses or libraries, but often, my clients are private individuals that want to digitize documents and other material to decrease physical clutter, while easily indexing and holding on to history.  Also, as time goes on originals may deteriorate, but the electronic copies will always be there. This can help create custom Christmas gifts like calendars with family photos or small photo books and framed images for the wall.


If you are someone who has photo albums laying around and you want to keep a digital copy for future use, please contact us. Our rates are affordable, and in most cases your photos never have to leave your possession, whereas other companies you may require you to send your photos away for them to be digitized.


If you have a collection of photos that you would like digitized and preserved, please reach out to Schellinger Research via our contact page.  We are still accepting projects.


Until next time, happy scanning 🙂


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