It started with a warning to my parents that the magnetic albums they had stacked in a closet were causing harm to my childhood photos. Then, my mother-in-law’s albums, stored in a low cabinet in the living room, had gotten wet and moldy from leaking and humidity after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Friends began asking for my input on what they could do with their parents’ wedding pictures, boxes of loose photos saved from their grandmother, and files of family documents from recently reconnected familial branches. An uncle started a huge digitization project of family photos, once he had the time in retirement. My father-in-law began creating sweet little heritage photo albums and DVDs for Christmas gifts with newly discovered images of his father who had passed away too soon for his grandchildren to meet.
I soon began growing preoccupied with my unease at the proliferation of digital images and how these could be managed once film had been quickly replaced by various digital devices, snapping dozens of images in an instant. I wondered how our favorite photos would be safe if they only existed on our phones or on Facebook. If the printed image is the most stable format, how were we going to save our memories if we no longer were getting photos printed? How would our loved ones and future generations cherish our pictures if they were locked down to our online accounts? I knew people needed guidance and assistance with managing their growing personal collections. I decided to parlay my background with museum and archival work into a service for those who could benefit from an orderly arrangement of their personal photo and heritage collections.
Photos and memorabilia are saved because they mean something. They represent what is most precious to people and flesh out our own histories. They are tangible artifacts to our pasts and experiences, but managing our personal collections often becomes a personal burden. So many people want to organize these special items so they can enjoy them and share them, but they often feel like they don’t have the time or the know-how.
This is the reason I have decided to start a personal archiving and photo organizing business – Ephemera Photo Organizing. As a personal archivist and photo organizer, my mission is to help ease this burden by applying my professional knowledge to smaller, personal collections in people’s homes.