Thursday, January 14, 2016

Slides; Or What To Do When Technology Changes

My father took slides.  He took LOTS of slides.  Though early in his family's life he tried out movies, and he also took black and white photographs, he eventually chose slides as his main way of documenting.  Among the things he documednted were family events, flowers in his yard and in other places, birds, places he visited professionally (he did a lot of international travelling) and personal life.  He also took slides as part his forestry field work.

When my mother died, I inherited all the slides: a vast collection.  Most of them were stored in carousels, so the collection was not only large in terms of the number of slides it contained but also in bulk.

I also took slides.  When I bought my first SLR camera, I usually took slides because photos, mainly of the places we visited (a lot of hiking in the southwest and a few trips to Europe) just weren't adequately captured by photographs.

So I also have my own slides. I did not, however, store them in carousels.

I have recently been cleaning out my house because we are hoping to sell our Louisville house and buy something smaller: ideally a condo in the Louisville neighborhood of the Highlands, where we now live.

Today, I gave away my slide projector and all my father's carousels (though not the slides they contained) to Goodwill.  Thus, I have effectively decided that I will not view my slides through a projector on a screen.  (Candidly, though, this was not a difficult decision, as I don't believe I have taken my projector off the shelf for over 15 years.

Technology has changed.  For the last 15 years or so, all my pictures have been digital.

But what am I to do with the slides?  I painfully digitized about half of my father's family slides.  I haven't digitzed the rest of the family slides nor my own slides.  I have persuaded my brother (thank you Ben!) to take Daddy's other slides.  He admitted he didn't know what or when he would do something with them, but I said fine: it's now his responsibility (and no longer mine).

Like all my VHS tapes, all my floppy disks (in three sizes), my video camera that requires a cable that no computer has a port for anymore, etc., etc., my slides are a vanishing technology.

I can live without VHS tapes; I don't have enough personal ones to make it onerous to have them digitzed.  But the slides. . . .

How many of us, about my age, have their pasts recorded in slides?  How many of us will have to figure out what to do with them, once their parents have passed them on to us (in one circumstance or another)?  How many of us can just throw them out (not me)?  But how many of us want to have 100s of slides of flowers professionally digitized (also not me); even the thought of winnowing through them is exhausting.

The picture above is of my grandmother, morther, and me--probably taken around 1963.  I think it was taken when I was confirmed from Sunday School.  Kind of like a graduation.  I am the last generation alive in this picture.  I can't let it go, but who else will want it (and all the other slides that come along with the collection)?



Marilyn Cooper said...

I have tons of travel slides, and my father took slides too - scenery, family stuff, and fish. My brother has his slides, thank goodness, and I should digitize (some) of mine. Someday . . .

Debra Journet said...

It is really complicated. Just thinking of the time it would take to winnow out the ones worth digitizing is an exhausting prospect. Hope you are surviving winter!