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Photographs

Highcliffe, 2019

There is a double-pleasure in photographs. There is the pleasure in taking them, in capturing the scene, the moment or the little detail. After the event it is fun to select from the results and to share them with others. However, I have just indulged in the second pleasure of re-discovering our own photographs. I am referring to our own holiday snaps from twenty years ago. There is such richness in the memories invoked.

We have been sorting old family photographs from the boxes retrieved from parental homes. That has generated fascination and puzzles. It has been linked with genealogy using the search tools of an Ancestry.com subscription. But I will cover this elsewhere.

I have also written about photography as part of my professional work and as a life-time interest on the page here.

So, our holiday snaps and, first, a point about storage and retrieval. We have five metres of substantial shelving which accommodates ring-files of selected transparencies, boxes of slide-cases and various photograph albums. I suppose we should add a large box of negatives plus eight boxes of family photos mentioned above. Although I have some themed selections, mostly the storage is chronological. I have school-size notebooks listing the contents of the transparency-era. Marg started with large scrapbooks with clearly labelled photographs. The corner-hinges and double-sided tabs have dried out and the photos have become loose. This will need a remedy and I have bought the replacement tabs. Most of the photographs are in photo flick-over albums, again with clear labelling.

Marg has also provided really useful notes to accompany these holidays tucked away with the photos or with the maps and leaflets. Sometimes she has written a diary account but more usually it’s just a list of where we have been each day. She records the weather and, famously, she has a memory for what we have eaten.

It is evident these are all physical photographs from the pre-digital era. Our digital photographs have also accumulated rapidly and have survived transfer from different computers and back-up drives. I have used Flickr [opens in a new tab] from the start and I have created my own albums and belong to a few groups. Flickr isn’t used for much interaction these days, since it went over to subscription, but I continue to use it for storage as well as public display. I really like the locational feature in Flickr – a must for geographers! Marg, after initial resistance to social media, has taken to Facebook with a vengeance, posting most walking days. A small group of dedicated fellow-walkers also share and they comment on each others’ images of the day.

So, our holiday snaps from 2000, and the delight in browsing, in my hand, an actual set of bright, high-resolution images. You can flick through them or take a casual enjoyment. They conjure up the experience through details of a specific location and often a surprise as reminded of hair-styles and clothes. And from just twenty years ago!

Photo storage

Digital transfer

This recent exploration is not my first immersion in photograph curation. Initiated for our silver wedding anniversary in 2009 I created a sub-site called “Places” where I selected about five photos for each year of our marriage. I regret that the early photos are scanned as small-size images in consideration of the slow internet speed at the time. The “Places” title comes not just from the obvious geography.

I told you I would take you places” is a heavily ironic phrase I use with Margaret when we get into a spot of difficulty or discomfort somewhere.

See www.pannage.com/places/ [opens in a new window]

I have been adding images to the “Places” website and also writing more on the pages where there are just headings. It was a stray postcard sent to Marg’s Mum and Dad and, then the photographs from the year 2000 in Estepona, Spain, which triggered this CoVid19 lockdown activity. We have boxes (more boxes) of maps and leaflets from each of these holidays and visits. These provides source material for further memories. If I pursued the photographs at the rate of one year each week it should keep me occupied through to the end of lockdown 3. More retrieval and sorting to do: under the circumstances it’s been a real pleasure.