Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Great Photo Album Project of 2011

I love many, many things about my digital camera but even with all that love, I can not overlook it's one true flaw:  digital cameras do not force you to get your pictures developed.  In fact, you can go a whole year without ever printing an actual photo onto paper.  You can still go about your day, looking at photos on your computer, creating blogs, ordering photo Christmas cards.  It's too easy to forget about the entire photo album thing.

But I LIKE photo albums:  I like making them, I like looking at them and I like sharing them with others.  I even enjoy looking at OTHER people's photo albums and I can admit this even though it makes it clear to you all that I am a total freak.

Can you tell where I am going with this one?

Yep.  I haven't printed any photos or made any photo albums for over a year.  Yes, I know that I could use one of the on-line photo developers to make my own albums or books, but I don't like them.  I made one for Georgia after her surgery and the picture quality was the pits.  I like to look at albums of actual pictures and that takes a lot of work.

First, I had to upload a billion photos to Mpix (the site that my photography teacher recommends.. more on them later) which meant that I had to go onto our old, slow, virus-filled PC and beg it to send the photos on its hard-drive to the internet.  This required a lot of time and a whole lot of groveling.

The photos arrived in five neat bundles.  I was tempted to leave them there and just put the whole thing into the closet, shut the door and forget about it for awhile.

But I didn't.

Instead, I opened up the photos and began to create some semblance of order and chronology.

The I organized the pictures into boxes and got to work.

This took me many nights and I won't lie, it was boring and painful.  I vowed many times to never allow myself to get so far behind ever again.

The Great Photo Album Project of 2011 haunted me day and night.  I found myself lugging the albums and the boxes of photos from room to room looking for company while I worked.

Remember that Ikea bookshelf?  While Gordy assembled that sucker, I sat at the coffee table and worked on the albums.

Eventually, I was done.  Well, done with all that I got printed out so far -- which means everything a year ago up to Memorial Day.  Sigh.

My goal is to get these albums up to date by summer's end and I have three more weeks.  I am happy with the work I've done so far --- well, I'm happy with the photo albums, themselves.  As for the photos themselves?  Did I like Mpix?  I'm not 100% sold on their service.  I've yet to find a photo developer that is as good as the Mom-&-Pop developers that were in our town until they retired and closed two years ago.  My photography teacher swore by Mpix and she told us to check the "photo retouch" button before we checked out.  

And I did click that button and so maybe it's my fault that every picture was actually photo shopped to the point that I no longer recognize even myself.  I've never looked so wrinkle-free!  I know I'm crazy, but when I'm older and grayer, I'd like to look back at my 39th year and see how I REALLY looked - not how I looked with my face as smooth as a 20 year old and the color of a ripe peach.  I'd rather see myself with my full-set of wrinkles and my usual deathly-white pallor.  It was quite unnerving, to say the least.

I'll use Mpix again, but I'll never click the retouch box.  It's just too scary.


Anonymous said...

Love this post! I am inspired by your work but am many years behind you!! I am still looking for a good place to print my pictures as well. I devoted many hours to towne photo and still haven't forgiven them for moving to sunny retirement!


Martha said...

I know! I practically started to cry when they told me they were closing shop! If you find some where that you like, let me know!

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