Digitalized!

family photos, digital, toddler, The old photos make me conscious of my age. I peer at the photo of my son at three years old,  laughing in pure abandon as he pulled on a cowboy hat. Where’d he ever get that hat? How’d I take that candid picture without a cell phone? Where’d my old camera go?

And next to the “cowboy” photo is one of me, reading to my daughter, six years old at the time. Did I really look that young? Back then, I thought I was old, almost 35!

I blame all of this introspection on my son. I had called him two weeks ago excited because I’d made a Chatbooks album from some of the old photos sitting in a box in my closet. One hundred photos out of over 1,000. That’s progress! The album is adorable, with photos when the kids were young, and even some of me and my guy as babies.  

old photos, Chatbooks, albums, photos

My boy and me, circa . . . well never mind.

 “Great,” sonny boy exclaims. “Send me the digital version.”

Um, the digital version?

“No, I made this album from photos I took of the old pictures onto my phone and into a Chatbooks hardback album. I thought you’d be impressed,” I explain.

Do I hear a sigh?

old photos, family album

My dad and me. Undigitalized.

“Mom, my kids – your grandkids – will want a digital version they can see on my computer. I want a digital version. No one does the other stuff anymore.”

I hold my tongue. Why not? I want to ask. But I know better. I just let his words flow over me like water over a rock. Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle.

But lo and behold, guess what arrives at my front door a week later? A fancy kit called ScanCafe. The instructions urge me to place all of my photos in one of their envelopes that go in the pre-paid box. Drop it off at a UPS and within a month, all of my photos will be returned scanned and digitalized in a DVD or thumb drive.

I snap a photo of this box and text it to my son with question marks.  ? ? ? ?

“It’s an early Happy Birthday gift, Mom!” he texts back giddily. He’s not a giddy man, but I can tell, he’s giddy.

Sigh.

I throw in the towel, fill the kit, and send it on. My life has now become digitalized.

digital, digitalized, family albums

My son with the next “digitalized” generation.

157 thoughts on “Digitalized!

  1. i am mixed in too much digital / or should i say “only” digital / i think hard copies and tangible books are crucial just for the fact they are endangered
    and a hard drive wipe out or server crash imor loss of thumbdrives and it is gone

    then! an exec from a big Tech company – a while back – talked abut digital changes and some folks are in danger of not properly upgrading and will not be able to access some digital images
    either way
    i think there is a time for digitizing but need some hard copies for sure

    and love the photos

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As you may have realised, Pam, I have scanned thousands of negatives and slides going back to 1940s and even earlier. I only abandoned film in 2012 when I began blogging. I use an Epson Perfection Pro V850 which will do flatbed work and has template units to take slides and various different sizes of negative.. I hope you are happy with your kit. If not, let me know. Don’t be scared about what I have done. I am certainly not techie. I was in my late 60s when I began.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Beautiful photos, Pam. I think it’s really great to have both physical photo albums and digital. The digital photos can be shared widely, but it’s good to have photos and pages to turn, too. I have so many digital photos that are not organized in any way. . . and also old photos, too. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great photographs, Pam. I love the one with you and your father. He looks so happy and proud. xo I’m old school when it comes to photos, writing letters, cards, etc. There’s something about pulling out a box or photo album on a rainy or snowy day and holding those memories in your hands verses looking at a screen. I have wonderful memories of traveling to West Virginia as a child to visit relatives. Each stop would include sitting in a circle and passing around old photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so insightful, Jill. You caught that exact emotion on my dad‘s face. My parents were told they could never have children and were married seven years before my surprise visit! I happen to agree with you. I like to have the photo album in my hands.
      I enjoyed reading about your West Virginia memories. 💙

      Like

  5. I love the picture of you and your dad, and the other ones, too. There are days I wish I had had a digital camera when my kids were little. The few pictures I have of them seem like rare treasures compared with the tons of digital pictures I get of my grandkids. Sigh… And now they have digital photo restoration sites to perk up pictures of our ancestors. But I admit, I’ve never heard of a Chatbooks album before.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I never would have known about Chatbooks without my daughter ‘chatting” about it in my ear. She has three kids, takes hundred of photos monthly on her cell phone, and right from there she makes “hard copy” albums that are delivered to her house in a week. Her kids love looking through those albums, so that’s a happy combination of digital and “old school.” 🙂 P.S. If you’re interested, you can put the Chatbooks app on your phone (get it from the Apple store), and it’s pretty user friendly. I mean, if I could do it, I KNOW you could! 🙂

      Like

  6. Oh, Pam, I love this! I laughed out loud when you called your son “sonny boy.” I have used that same term and I know the feeling of love and resignation that comes with it. ❤

    You look like Sophia Loren in that photo with your son. Gorgeous! And you haven't changed a bit.

    After reading this post, I have started researching the Epson products available for scanning photos (one of the commenters mentioned a fancy-schmancy version, but I think I'd be interested in one that's a little less expensive). I also have done Chatbooks and they're so much fun! We have boxes upon boxes of old photos and I'd love to get them digitized for the kids in the future.

    Have a great weekend, my friend. Thanks for a great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Amy! I was surprised to learn that a number of people scan their photos themselves. I never thought of getting a scanner. And as I’m typing this, I realize that’s because our printer scans documents for us when we push that button, but it’s not a photo-type scanner. What I’m learning is that just because I have lots of photos on my phone (and I do) it’s not easy to send them to my kids in one swell swoop, which I guess is what this service will do, by giving me a thumbdrive. (Not to mention all of my old photos from waaaaay before cell phones). Then I can make a file with it and send that to anyone who wants it. Phew. I must admit, I liked the ‘good ole days’ when we took photos from a camera, sent the roll to the camera store to be developed into photos, and then made an album out of them. Then again… I do love how my cell phone photos turn out. Good luck with your “boxes and boxes”! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love holding those photos in my hands, and I don’t get them printed from my phone at the store. Too bad kids today don’t know the thrill of paying for that packet of photos and leafing through them to see how they turned out.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely photos, Pam. Keep on making your books. I keep promising myself I’ll make mine!
    My mother gave me her mess of pictures (four boxes worth) and asked me to digitalize them for her. Umm… I keep promising myself I’ll get a good photo scanner and do it before she leaves this earth. I really must get on it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting – Amy Reade said the same thing in the comment above yours – that she’s thinking of getting a scanner. I’m kind of glad to skip that step and send these photos on to the company, thanks to my birthday gift. I wonder if your mom would like a similar birthday gift? Hmmmm 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are not alone! A few years ago a good CA friend snuck me into her dining room to look at her antique dresser. She opened the huge bottom drawer (or tried to). It was filled, and I mean FILLED, with photos from the past 30 years of her family life with son and husband and holidays and friends and . . . “I’ve got to do something about this,” she whispered. She still hasn’t. Bet she can’t open that drawer now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Talk about a cautionary tale! I have albums of photos of my family that my Mom lovingly put together chronologically, going all the way back to the late 1890’s. I’m able to scan them myself, but do I have to? But your son is right – future generations will want to look digitally. (I was just going to leave them to my niece!) oy.
    You look so adorable in the photo with your baby, and your son and kids look so wonderfully happy. Just lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Kudos Pam on surrendering and flowing like water. We’re all becoming digitized. Resistance is futile. Become one with the Borg! 🙂 I’ve mostly gone digital and find some advantages in sharing, storing, and accessing photos, but just like reading, I find more pleasure in holding a book or photo.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You sound just like my brother! 🙂 After our mom died, he handed off her albums to me. Some of the photos I digitalized myself (using my phone) and I made an “ancestral” Chatbooks album out of it: one for me and one for hom. I “think” he appreciated it. Or maybe just the fact that he didn’t have to worry about what do do anymore with those old photos. 🙂

      Like

  10. We all have to get on the digital bandwagon whether we want to or not. I like the results from technology but hate having to learn how to use it.
    That was a very thoughtful gift which your son sent you, Pam. Who would have thought it would be so easy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha. Robbie, if you want my son to call you and “guilt” you into getting your photos digitalized, just let me know. It’s very good at that. 🙂 I bet your older decorated albums are gorgeous, though.

      Like

  11. Agree completely. Last winter after COVID came knocking we spent months scanning photos from 5 carboard boxes jammed with photo albums. Our daughter kept saying whenever she would spy the boxes. “What are you planning to do about all of those?” Translated to ‘ don’t expect me to deal with that’. It was a huge job but now all categorized in digital format. Our great COVID accomplishment.
    Fabulous photo of you taken a ‘few’ years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m wondering if your 23 photo albums are like mine were – HUGE and bulky. I moved our 23+ albums three times in four years but then we moved cross country, again, and I didn’t want to pay the weight charge. So… I took every one of those photos out of every one of those albums. It was a horrendous job, although it was fun to go through our photographic life again. That’s why all of my 1000s of photos were all sitting in a box. The good news is now the ‘next generation” can enjoy the photos all on one file. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome! ❤ We moved across country and up and down both coasts with photos intact–meanwhile adding new albums to the mix. I've taken digital photos of photos from some of the albums to share with kids and grands. I don't have the heart to deconstruct the albums yet–may have to wait for one of the girls to come for a long visit for that project… It's definitely the thing to do!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely post Pam. Thanks for sharing those adorable pics. Yes, nothing works with this generation without the computer! I have soooo many albums, still lying in my abandoned home in Delhi. Each time I visit, I pick and choose to get them digitalized… precious memories! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Balroop! How difficult it is for you to not have those albums near by. ;-( The reactions to this post are interesting – SO many of us have our life-in-photos in albums but know that they need to be updated. Good for you to have started the process digitalizing each time you go to Delhi. I hope you’re able to share some of those in your blog or Instagram. They’re fun for your blogsphere friends to see. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Congratulations, Pam! You have joined the world of the younger generation! Before our last move, I took all 40+ extra-large photo albums (each contained 500 photos) and scanned them myself. We were downsizing and my husband said there was no way we were moving them again. So, when I should have been sorting what to take and what to get rid of, keeping the house clean for prospective buyers, I was scanning from morning till night for weeks. It was a huge project! The good news is that my scanner/printer didn’t burn up! 🤣🤣
    Take care and stay safe. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whoa. I am so impressed that you scanned all of those thousands and thousands of photos yourself! Yes, oh my gosh, I know how much time that must have taken. So, this is my questions. What are you doing with those digitalized photos now? Do you share them with family? Are you making any of the newer type albums (like Snapfish, Chatbooks, which are thinner and lighter) with those digitalized photos?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I shared the photos with family, but haven’t decided if I want the books, even if thinner. My granddaughters know how to find them on my computer and sit here looking through them. I may make books of photos selected from before they were born.
        Yes, it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to scan them!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I wish we had met when we both were extreme brunettes – you look fabulous in the photo with your baby son – still do!

    More than 4 years ago I lugged 21 family photo albums to our current home, which incidentally all need to be digitized. Then I bragged that I was all caught up with labeling photos on my digital camera. Now, thousands of photos later, I’ve proved myself a liar.

    Chatbooks are wonderful. (Heavy sigh!) Just can’t keep up.
    Kudos to you and your son – Photos are the best souvenirs of a happy life, (Stories with photos are too!)

    Like

  15. Oh boy, can I relate! Great post! I have some of my photos scanned onto a disc, but have trouble downloading them. I still prefer beautiful photographs I took with my camera in the 80s– when you had to focus the lens to catch movement that today’s phone’s don’t capture! I was a journalist and a photographer, and it will always stay in me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s really hard when you know your children are OLD too. 😉 I’ve gone through my photos many times as there are only 5 photo boxes of them. I saved many of my parents photos and tossed a lot because they are no longer relevant. Every photo on my blog has been scanned to an external hard drive and so many more. I did one of those Shutterfly books for my niece on her 16th birthday. Was going to do more of them but… I don’t think kids fully understand what they will miss when photos that have been scanned are no longer viable on new hardware. It can happen. My brother took all of our parents 8 mm films and put them on CD’s. CD’s will be a thing of the past soon enough. You can’t even get one on computers anymore. Everything and everyone becomes obsolete. I’ll hang on to my old photos in their boxes till the end of my time.

    Liked by 2 people

        • Wow! My best memories there were hiking up the mountain and watching the stars at the top, going to frat parties, and I worked at the college mail room so getting up at six every morning with my college roommate and finding out which students got letters from home. 🤗 But I also became friends with some of the English professors and by senior year we even went out drinking together!

          Like

          • Was Dr. ERic V. Sandin in the English Department at your time? Likely not… He was my favorite professor – a perfect stereotype: white hair, spoke sotly with a strong intellectual authority and love for English…to my mind, the epitomy of excellence. Of course, he would have been much younger during your Warrior days…nearing retirement in mine.
            Okay, what was your drink of choice?

            Liked by 1 person

  17. ScanCafe. I have to look into that! A timely post, Pam, as my parents want to know what to do with their 85 photo albums going back to the 1930’s. My brother and I look like deer in headlights. The photos can definitely be whittled down, but there are so many good ones that we want to preserve. I love the photos of your son and you and the digital generation. Tell your son thank you for me! Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Check out their website! The last time we moved about six years ago I took out all of the photos of my huge 12 albums and put them all in a box because I didn’t want to move the big big albums. So now all those photos have been sent to the scancafé and will come back in one little thumb drive. I will pass on the thanks to my son. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Any way to preserve those memories is a good thing. I look back at some photos and don’t remember anything about being somewhere or even the other people in the photo. I would think that it would trigger something in my long-term memory, but I’ve got nothing. Is that photo of the son with you the same one who has two kids of this own? Good looking family!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In my parents’ old old albums the pages were black and the photos were placed with little corner thingies and with a white pen my mom would write the date and the person in the photo. Wish we could do that now!
      Yes, my son is the baby and the one in the hat and the cool guy in the bottom photo with two of his three sons. In the picture they were surfing at Stinson Beach!

      Like

  19. For years, especially when the kids were young, I filled photo albums with photos. The advantage: They’re all in order based on the year they were taken. The disadvantages: They’re stuck on the page, which means that when I want to scan them, sometimes they rip. I also have photos from other years, and I can’t always tell when or where they were taken. My mom kept her photo albums up until the day she died at 90 years old. My sister is keeping them.

    At least my digital photos are in order by month and year, and they’re easy to share with others. But I’ve saved too many, so it’s still hard to find what I want.

    There’s no perfect way to save photos, but they’re still wonderful to have.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true- no “perfect way” to save these family photo treasures. I had quite a number of those albums that we used to put the photos in with sticky pages. They did start to yellow a bit and getting each photograph out of those pages was very difficult. Just for these reasons it will be good to have them all digitalized. I now make the lighter Snapfish or Chatbook albums from these digitalized photos. But at least the younger generation can have the photos for their computer also. ☺️ I like how you’re able to tell the years of your photographs. I’m kind of having to guess with mine. Also, on a “real”album I can add names of relatives that the younger generation might not know and can’t tell just by looking at a photo on the computer!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Love the photos you chose to share with us today! So cute!

    My parents and grandparents had albums, slides, movies, etc., which instilled in me a corresponding love of photography. At one point, I had 60 photo albums . . . each 2 inches thick (100 pages). When we moved to Florida, I whittled those albums down to a mere 20 x 100 pages each. Then I inherited my parents albums and scrapbooks ~ another 20 or so. Then a hurricane threatened so I moved all the albums (and other stuff) to higher ground before evacuating. No harm came to the albums, but I decided that I wasn’t carting around that cartload of memories for the rest of my life.

    So I gave each sibling one or two of M&D’s albums (intact) and dismantled the rest to divvy up the pages in an “equitable” manner. The next time we were threatened with evacuation, I didn’t have to worry about losing M&D’s memories, the record of their lives. What a relief.

    I keep eyeing the 20 albums of ours. I know if I digitize them, I won’t look at them often enough (or ever). But 20 is too many to flip through too. Less is More, even when it comes to photos. So I will whittle away at them again . . . maybe making albums for nieces and nephews with the extra photos. We’ll see.

    Any way, I agree with Nicki:

    There’s no perfect way to save photos, but they’re still wonderful to have.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know exactly how you feel about these albums. The ones that I had seven years ago were like precious treasures to me. But they were also the really thick albums and each one seemed to weigh about 10 pounds. After we moved three times in four years and were about to do it one more time I said no more because we were paying for the move! So I took every single photo out of every single album. Some of them I digitalized myself with my phone camera and I was able to make them into snapfish and chat book albums which are much thinner and lighter and easier to handle. When I get the thumb drive of all the 1000 digitalized photos that’s probably what I will do with some of the special photos. Make a few more light snapfish photo albums. Either way, photo albums are treasures for ourselves and for our entire family. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Lovely photographs, Pam! I love looking at old-fashioned albums full of photos and am pleased that I still have plenty of them. I couldn’t bear to part with them but I expect I ought to digitize them some time, just to have a spare copy in case of accidents.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Personally, I prefer both hard copies and digital versions of photos. Both can be destroyed, and so the other is a necessary back up. But I admit I do have a hard time with the idea that having photos on computers is good enough….

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Pingback: The week gone by — Feb. 21 – A Silly Place

  24. We digitalized all of our photos when we moved to Texas, because we did not want the photos to be ruined when we were living on the boat (a lot of things were ruined, due to leaks, etc.). I have them on a thumb drive and also uploaded to Google Photos and Photobucket!

    Like

  25. What a great post, Pam, with beautiful pics! We have so many albums that we love pulling out and flipping through the memories. But with the nudge from our son who is now 25, we’ve begun the scanning process and it’s a work in progress. We often think, if there’s a fire, we can’t possibly grab all those albums in a matter of minutes. So, with time and the progression of technology, we must cave. 🙂 💖

    Like

  26. I am entirely sure there is going to be an entire generation (or several) who will lose their digital photos of those precious moments due to hardware failure etc and will have nothing to look back on. I made a book of photos and had to printed for my young niece (from our weekend trip away a couple of years ago) and she was thrilled with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. This generation thinks they want it all digital but then when they see pictures in a real hardback photo album – they are ecstatic. That’s why I will make an album out of all those old photos once they are digitalized. Thank you so much for being here and for your comment! 💙

      Like

  27. Gorgeous and poignant photos, Pam. I will have to investigate “Chatbooks.” I used to love working with the Apple company for making hard cover books and many other items. The company has stopped doing this for a few years now and I cannot find anything comparable. I have experimented with a few companies.

    I am goosebumpy on your story (and I usually listen more to my body than my mind lol) I have heard variations of this. One year, my husband digitized some of our 40-year-old slides. A treasure, even though they look a bit scratchy.

    A couple of thoughts: Scary for me to relinquish my precious photos to a company, even a reputable company. And, our children often sift through the old photo albums versus only on the computer. Both options likely a good idea. I love the photos you have shared here. You are knockout, gorgeous, Pam!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No knockout am I, Erica. But I was on a baby high when that picture was taken of me! in the past seven years I have made snapfish albums as well as chatbook albums from my digitalized (more recent)photos that were on my computer. Very time consuming. I just knew I couldn’t do that with all thousand of my non-digitalized photos. So we’ll see what happens when I get that thumb drive! And you are right. I used a lot of faith when I put those photos into that box and sent it out. I tracked it and I know they received it at least. 🤞🙏💜

      Liked by 1 person

  28. lmao – early birthday present…;)

    You can digitise your own old photos if you have a printer with a scanner. Just pop the photo in, image side down, lower the lid and press Start [or whatever the equivalent is]. Most scanners come with software that will allow you to specify the type of digital copy you want. .jpg is what’s used on the internet because it gives a decent looking picture without using up millions of gigabytes of space. But you can specify higher quality pics as well.

    Which reminds me, I have thousands of old pics sitting in photo albums too. -sigh-

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hi Pam – you’ll make it into the digital world, I have full confidence in you :). I am in the middle of scanning all of my parents’ photos to share with my siblings. I had to put it on hold during the holidays but I’m making my way back to the scanner. It’s so many photos – and I have decades to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Ouch! I struggle with these same tensions. I want the photo books, and my kids keep telling me to send them off to be digitized…just as you’re describing. I haven’t given in yet, but you do make me think!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I figure I’m gonna go both ways. I did send the photos out to be digitalized as I’ve been instructed but when I get those digital photos I’m going to make an album or two out of them! ha ha that way I win still. 😁

      Like

  31. Pingback: Digitalized! – Aakash teach and technical

  32. Indeed, but scary letting those precious items out of your sight. Some of the writing work I’m doing includes taking non-digital photos from a client and scanning them in for inclusion in their book. The responsibility weighs heavy until they’re scanned/saved 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Love the story. I have soo many digital pictures that I just throw them in a folder on my computer. Unorganize – To Be Organize – One Day. That’s the problem for me. 😀 Phones allow us to take pictures any second in the day. Where before we had to get out the old camera and hope you have a spare roll of film somewhere. While doing so, you’ll find a roll that you forgot to have develop. 😂 Gone are those times.

    Liked by 1 person

Always a pleasure to read your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s