Monday, November 22, 2010

Past And Future Present Tense

Me - In my brownie uniform

I just found the most interesting blog, called Forgotten Old Photos. Check it out sometime; the link is to the right under Blogs I Like.

The blogger explains that she started with old photos found in a couple of boxes in a thrift shop and her project has developed over the past 2 years into a delightful venture of communication and reunification. She publishes the photos she finds, and also some that people have sent to her, and occasionally an old photo is reunited with the subject's relatives. When a match is made she sends the original photo on to the appropriate family. What an interesting project!

Preserving images from the past may turn out to be one of the greatest benefits of electronic media. I'm not a technology expert, but my impression is that the "bits" that images are made of don't degrade, can be reproduced endlessly, and are stored easily on hard drives, disks, etc.

I suppose the same is true of the electronic storage of music.

And what a difference that will make to future generations' knowledge of history! For example, what do we know of 500 years ago - the year 1510?
  • We have the written word, passed down, rewritten, interpreted, edited, etc.
  • We have a few old books and artifacts, mostly stored in museums.
  • We have old paintings, samples that have survived the years, again mostly in museums or private collections.
What will the people of 2510 - 500 years in the future - know of us?
  • Photos, videos, movies, diaries (blogs), newspapers and textbooks, all accurately preserved by electronic data.
  • Although not everything will survive, the sample that does will be larger because the medium is more stable.
  • The only thing 26th century people will need to access all this is a way to transfer our "bits" into their methods of storing and accessing information.
In the 12th century, the Bible was copied by hand by monks; in the 15th century books were printed from hand set printing presses; in the 26th century information will be stored and transmitted by machine. There's a potential here for much greater accuracy and less bias. And greater potential for ordinary folk to be heard. I like it!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying these old photos, and the blogger's attempts to interpret and connect-the-dots (literally).

And here are a couple of my own fairly old photos:
First Grade - Fredericksburg School - 1952
Vacation Bible School - First Baptist Church - 1954

If you have old photos that have not yet been duplicated electronically, don't waste another minute. Scan them and store them for future generations. Your great great great great great grandchildren, nieces and nephews will appreciate it!

Now, go hug someone you love, and say a kind word to someone you don't!

1 comment:

jude said...

Well aren't you the cutie!!! Good advice about the photos. I would also add to that the importance of preserving all the valuable things stored in the minds of our older generation. They have wonderful stories to tell. I should be doing that....