It was Christmas 1953 when I got a Brownie box camera.
I was incredibly excited and set out to "make memories." I used that phrase in my mind many times, that the camera would help me "make memories," which was very important to me.
Over the years since then, I am always the one with a camera, sometimes to people's frustration, sometimes to their relief. Sometimes the Piñata people don't think about bringing a camera to a social occasion because they know I will be there with my camera.
I can't possibly list the number of cameras I have had over the years, from this simple box camera to more complicated cameras. I got my first digital camera as a gift in 2000. It had no internal memory, but all photos went on 3½" disks that went into the camera itself. When we traveled, I would bring a lot of floppy disks with me.
I never made it to DSL cameras -- too expensive, but did buy cameras for their zoom ability.
Now I have a Canon point and shoot. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it does have a 16x zoom, which I love. It goes most places with me. I'm not so sure I'm "making memories" any more as I am being a news photographer for Funny the World.
The nice thing about having a digital camera is that you can take hundreds of pictures and only save the good ones. You never knew what you had until you developed a roll of film in the old days.
So the end result of all of this photography is that I have photos. Hundreds of photos. Thousands of photos.
I knew a lot but didn't really have a feel for how many until I started going through stuff in the "staging area." I was pretty good in the early years about keeping them in photo albums. As I mentioned here recently, I stopped making scrapbooks after David and Paul died. Trying to go back and design happy pages for people that I missed to sorely was just too difficult, so the pictures began building up.
I'm very good about moving digital photos off of disks and onto organized albums on my computer.
But the years between David's death and the digital camera are years filled with envelopes of photos and loose photos. Everywhere.
I sent Ned a text message yesterday morning which said "I THREW AWAY something!" The "something" was the brace I wore during a carpal tunnel period. Lord knows why I kept it, but there it was in among a bunch of other things and out it went. It was the first item into the big garbage can that I have been tasked with filling twice by the time Ned returns in a week or so.
In the afternoon I went through a few boxes and most of them were photos. And negatives. Lots and lots of negatives. At one time I was very organized about negatives, keeping them all in a box and labeling each envelope. I opened that box and saw what was there and chucked the whole thing in the big garbage can. Does anyone even develop negatives any more? And even if they do, I can't think of any photo from 30-40 years ago that I would want to make copies of...and if I do, there is the scanner.
I threw away a good number of photos too, but it's time consuming because you can't just throw away a box of photos, but need to check for the good ones. It was a pleasant afternoon reliving all the old memories but I fear I didn't make a big dent in the photos. I just have to figure out a better way of storing them in my soon-to-be organized office.
The other things I threw away were 5¼" floppy disks. As organized as I was with photo albums, I was organized with my correspondence. I started keeping carbon copies of all my typed letters back in the 1960s (I haven't unearthed those yet and don't know what I will do when I find them), but when I got a computer, I kept all the letters on floppy disk. Two big boxes of them, all labeled with the person to whom the letters were written and the date range. I think this was also part of "making memories" and trying to remember...well...my whole life. Maybe I thought that at some point my kids might be interested in what I was like when I was whatever age they are at whatever point it is that they might be interested in reading them.
I don't think that any more.
As I don't have a 5¼" floppy disk drive now and have no interest in reading what I wrote to someone I can't really remember 20 years ago, I tossed both of the big boxes of disks and we'll never know. (I haven't come across the 3½" disks yet).
At the end of the day yesterday, I had probably filled 1/8 - 1/4 of the garbage can. A long way to go and I have barely made a dent in the "staging area." But it's a start. I hope Ned would be pleased.