What photos mean to me

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What photos mean to me

I have a picture from an old World War II newspaper. It is a photograph of my Aunt Emmie. It accompanied an article about how she was blinded by a chimney explosion during the bombing of England in the Battle of Britain in 1940. I have another photo of my grandparents leaving England to set sail for America on the Queen Mary. In the photograph, you can see my aunts and uncles waving good-bye.

Queen Mary good-bye

My family watching my grandparents leave England on the Queen Mary.

These old photographs are so powerful. They tell the story of my ancestry. In fact, they tell the story of history – a history we all share. They tell me to remember the past generation. They tell me that I need to protect these photographs, these stories, these memories for my children and grandchildren because they need to know the story, too.

That’s why photos mean so much to me. I love the stories behind pictures.

I don’t remember seeing old photos of my grandparents and parents when I was young. But now that I’m an adult and those photographs have been given to me, they are a prized possession. I love how they bring so much of their story back to me.

My teen daughters don’t tend to look at these old photographs too much. They love watching old movies of themselves when they were young. And, boy, do they laugh at them. But one day, I hope they will treasure these photos of their great-grandparents as much as I do.

When I was working as professional home organizer, a client had a massive collection of old photographs she needed help organizing. It took that one job to convince me that I wanted to tweak my career from full-home organizing to photo organizing. I was captivated by the photos and the project hooked me.

I found the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. I earned my APPO certification and absorbed as much as I could about photo preservation — digital and paper — best practices when it comes to organizing photos and how important archival boxes and back-up files are to keeping one’s collection organized. Today, my entire business focuses on helping other people preserve their memories, their stories, their ancestry, their history in pictures.

I love being able to help people get their photos back in order and allowing them to share their stories with their children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends.

I have this more recent photo of four generations of women in my family – from my daughters to my grandmother. The photo tells another piece of our family history. It is not an old vintage black and white photograph, but it is very important to my collection. These are the photos, both the young and the old ones, that give my work meaning.

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