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Saturday, 24 July 2021


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A wonderful post

Thank You Mike for sharing this !

The narrative is powerful. it is amazing that you have such carefully preserved photos from multiple generations. Who knows when you will be able to see these members of your family again ? A journal of your trip and impressions along with photos is a no-brainer.
Cheers, Henry L. in Texas

Mike, that box containing the Kodachrome slides is likely made by a company called Baja. I have a similar one here. It is made from doped cloth stretched over wood, similar to luggage in that era and some airplanes. I bet the slides would scan very well.

Glad you were able to sort things out, although these things never play out in a satisfactory manner. My old man succumbed to Alzheimer's- actually a supposed heart attack that quite possibly masked some episode of negligence. I never chose to pursue it since whatever occurred was a blessing in disguise, as I have complete confidence that my father would have never wished to continue his existence as he was...

Now I'm dealing with my mother who recently succumbed to a stroke, and am exceedingly fortunate that some cousins have stepped up to help this only child in her continued care. Old age and its numerous health and social consequences are the final taboo, particularly in this country with its less than adequate health system. And it's a self defeating attitude, to say the very least, since it's a fate that awaits the majority of us.

There is a saying something like "letting a kid into the toy store" (or is it a candy store?). Your description of what you found brings that to mind.
Now you know from where you got your Photography DNA - located in a small part of Chromosome #8. Just sayin'.

As we get older, we all seem to be coming up against these situations. We step up to handle things for the older relatives, knowing in the back of our mind that it may or will be our turn someday, and likely sooner than we want.

Both of my parents died, at different times, in their 50's, so I have never experienced the work of looking out for aging parents. I can sense though, that my daughter is looking at me for signs that she may have to ... I am 79. And happy to have made it this far.

In January of this year I learned that a 1st cousin once removed had passed away at 89 from COVID-19, in the memory unit of a nursing home.
In order to settle her estate, I and others of her cousins needed to sign off paperwork attesting we had no interest. We were also allowed to visit her house to see if there was anything we wanted. I jumped at the chance, because I wanted photographs and records that would help me piece together my own ancestry, of which I knew little. I came home with the rear of my car filled with albums, loose prints, drugstore envelopes, and scrapbooks containing items of interest to her, and mentioning people I never knew. (Also, old cameras, point & shoot, film and digital.)

It seems this sort of thing happens quite often. Good luck in your own sorting efforts. It likely will pay off in filling pieces of your own narrative.

We, too have wild Turkeys here on the outskirts of Downtown Nashville, TN. More and more along with deer, raccoons, opossums, snakes (not nasty ones, and even "stream turtles" in our small backyard garden. The sad and painful explosive growth (thanks Amazon, Oracle, and others) bringing their urbanization and the associated inflation to Music City.
Wildlife is being squeezed out of their habitat by the sprawl.

But back on track...I have in excess of 1600 35mm slides that I took from 1966 to 1985). How do I cull them and then what do I do with them??? My wife is deceased, my children are in their later 40s, and I am 74 years young. Looking as box after box of carousels makes me reminiscent, sad, and frustrated. So many things yet to do and so little time. But I can not accept the thought of "landfill".

It seems that camera scans are in your future. In the past five years I have made over 6,000 scans with the following dedicated set-up: Olympus E-M5II (in high-definition mode), M.Zuiko 60mm 1:1 macro lens, Manfrotto tripod 190X ProB (which has a horizontal arm), and Kaiser SlimLite Plano lightbox. The latter is particularly important -- its 5000K (daylight) LEDs obviate color balance headaches when copying color slides and negatives.

Another essential is to sandwich the film in a pair of anti-newton glass plates, available from http://www.fpointinc.com/glass.htm

Good luck and hopefully some good times in going thru all the pictures, Mike. My dad took lots of slides, and my sister has all his slides in their Kodak carousel containers along with the projector. We keep saying we'll get together and look at them all again, but we never have. A lot of them are Ektachrome and they were already getting pretty faded before he passed away, 20 years ago.
But I think I got the photography bug from Dad - I have a lot of Kodachrome slides that I took when I was in the Army and my wife and I lived in Germany for 6 years. Still have a Leica projector but we haven't looked at them in years either.
I can readily imaging that when my wife and I die nobody will likely spend much time looking thru our pictures and slides. We never had any children, and while I'm close to my sisters, I can't see them being that interested in looking thru our pictures.
At least I had fun in photographing things throughout my life.

Your post has auspicious timing for me. I just came back from a quick trip to my hometown and I was literally staying in my family home. My parents (who are 97 and 98 years old) have just gone to live in a care home and my brothers and I were discussing the selling of the family home. My Dad was a shutterbug (as they used to say) and, yes, there are a lot of pictures to go through. There are a couple things in our favour: Dad was quite techno-savvy and had a digital camera early on so the last 15 years or so of his photos are already digital and, secondly, he had a scanner and he scanned many of the slides. So there are perhaps a couple thousand scans of selected family events and trips. That part's good, but holy-moly, there are lots of prints and slides (and sometimes, apparently-orphaned negatives) and they are squirrelled away in lots of places and not well marked, in many cases. We have enlisted a couple of the grown grandchildren to help with some of the sorting. They are keen, so far. We'll see how that goes.

You’ll be needing a macro lens and a light box.

When the father of a friend died, her sister took care of gathering their dad’s things. She put a few of those in a box and called my friend, telling him that he should keep them. He brought the box home and he and his wife started sorting them out. There was a black and white photograph and she decided to hang it. Long story short, it was an Edward Weston print that Weston himself gave to his father’s father as a thank you for inviting him to his house in Cuernavaca, Mexico. It was a picture of a palm tree that he took in that city.

Camera scans are great if you have the right set-up, but I've also been pleasantly surprised at how nice my old family prints scan. Much easier and faster than negative or slides since you can use a relatively low DPI. I scanned a bunch to celebrate our 30th anniversary and they were perfect for sharing: https://juneauphotographs.com/Family-and-Friends/Old-Family-Photos/Scanned-Prints-Mary-and-John/

What a wonderful time, too rare these days. The missus and I have a blended family. She was divorced and I a widower, my 3 and her 2 between 6-11. It was a madhouse but we somehow survived. Now the youngest is 39 and their all friends. I hope to dump all of my photographic junk before the kids and spouse has to deal with it when I exit. Probably won’t happen but it’s a goal.

Steve B touched on an important point: consider what we will leave behind. This book addresses that issue:


We held the memorial service for my mother-in-law yesterday. My wife had retired to care for her, and she's grateful that she got to spend the past years with her, just as I was glad that my mother was able to spend her last years here with us. While I went through their old photo albums I reflected on the disarray of my own collection--many, many raw files that are still awaiting culling or editing, projects that still need attention, and thousands of negatives, 6x7 transparencies, and deteriorating Extachrome slides. I've got some cleaning up to do.

My father died in 2017. He taught high school photography and had a collection of around 10,000 negatives, slides, and prints. On top of that he saved every roll of film that students left in his darkroom. Most of it was thrown together into twelve 100 ft. bulk roll cans that looked like this:
One of 12

I took on the task of organizing and curating these images in 2020. The experience has completely changed the way I organize my own negatives and files. I am making it easier for someone to know what images I think are important.

Oh dear, you're describing the scenario my children and grandchildren will be facing when I'm gone (trying as hard and fast as I can to sort as much out before I go - 50 years' worth of photos - so far).

Nice to see you!

Great post, Mike, went through similar back in 2016. Father had about 200 slides taken on a Petri 35 on Kodachrome have withstood all sorts of conditions... surprisingly well. Had my own collection of 3000+ slides on Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Agfa CT18, and latterly Fujichrome. Used a Canon 7D with 60mm Macro along the lines of Allan Ostling, but with a couple of important differences. 1. I used an enlarger stand to parallel the setup.( made a jig to accept the slide easily.) I tilted it slightly to make the camera's orientation feature correct, ( first efforts were infuriatingly all over the place and I had to rotate half the images) .The lightbox was not as precise as Allan's, but a blank shot every now and again allowed me to reset White Balance ( not often) I also didn't bother with holding the slides between glass, and they came out OK, and the glass would undoubtedly attract dust eventually. I set the Camera at 400 ISO on Aperture priority and f8 Manual focus. Results were imported into Lightroom, and the fun began. Some of the underexposed images were corrected very well by the camera, and I had a lot of fun setting up a profile to correct the colour shifts- especially in the Agfa CT18, which had shifted to quite magenta. I now have many memories to share among the family, since I was really the only on in the family who took slides. ( On my first "serious" camera, an Asahi Pentax SV. Which still operates! ) But, and it's a HUGE but.... DON'T DO IT YOURSELF !!!! -Only half joking... it'll take you forever! Every slide has a memory, and it really bogs you down. Where did that first girlfriend end up? or That hotel we had such good times in is now underwater below a new dam...Gee that holiday was really memorable... that pic from my trainer aircraft in the RNZAF is actually rather good.... Aaah the memories!! Yup, it was bogging me down and threatened the whole process. So a young overseas disinterested guest with none of my family baggage was tasked one cold winter week to do the deed. So glad I had it done. And since, some of the enhancements have produced some exceptional photos. Thanks for the trigger! Bruce

Mike, life is too short to scan the keepers from those slides yourself. Send them to Scan Cafe. Very fair price, very good results.

I hope the images are well-labeled. I have no idea who most of the people in my parents' wedding photos are, they were mostly graduate school classmates and friends.

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