I have a project for 2010, and I’d love it if you came along. I’ve started a Flickr Group called 365Retro. The idea is to post one photo a day for the entire year. Now, 365 groups on Flickr are not new, but this one is a bit different. Instead of taking a photo with your camera, you have to scan a photo from your pre-digital photo collection.
The idea came to me while I was going through my old photo albums, which I have done periodically over the years. Every time I do I have this little voice inside me that says “I should really scan these”. But then real life took over and I never found the time.
This year, I am finding the time, mostly because my kids are starting to ask me more about my life, pre-kids. So, once a day I’ll be scanning and adding some old photos of my life pre-digital camera. I am really using this as an excuse to do what I have wanted to do for years – scan my old photos. And maybe share a few memories along the way.
One of the other reasons I am doing this is because in the past few months I have seen how a digital artifact, like a photo, can become a touchstone that connects people.
A group of radio announcers from CFGP radio enjoying a night out in Grande Prairie Alberta. From l to r: Peter Hall, Jeff Bolt, Paul Oulette, me, Daryl Olsen.
Last fall, a friend of mine named Peter Hall passed away. I had not seen Peter for 15 years, but had worked quite closely with him for many years early in my radio career.
I heard about his death via a post on Facebook from a mutual friend. I remembered I had some photos of Peter tucked away in my photo collection. So that night I went through the photos, scanned a few, and posted them on Facebook. Before I knew it, people I had not heard from for years who both Peter and I had worked with began to comment on the photos. I reconnected with numerous old friends I had lost track of (including one who now lives in the same city as I do and we have met f2f for lunch since), and many fun memories were shared, all spurred by these photos.
Over the past few years, thanks to social networks, I have meet a whole new circle of people. Thanks to a continual stream of tweets, status updates, blog posts and Flickr photos, I have a pretty good idea of who these people are today and what they are up to right now. But ask me about these people and their lives prior to around 2005 when I started actively connecting virtually with people, and I know squat. And I want to know. I like history and knowing what happened to people in their lives that brought them to the point they are at now.
So, if you have a scanner, some old photos, and a Flickr account, come and connect with us in the 365Retro group. Fill in the pre-digital gaps in your life to give your friends and family a more complete picture of your life and history. These photos can be whatever you want to scan and share. If you can add some context or a story that fills in the details about the subject of the photo, all the better. Add some context and share your stories and your history with the group.
If you don’t have a Flickr account, you can set one up for free. Once you have your account, join the 365Retro Flickr group. Scan and post a photo a day to your Flickr account, and send the photo to the 365Retro Group
That’s it! You’ve participated. And don’t worry if 365 sounds daunting. Contribute what you can. Or, if you don’t want to contribute, you can pop by and laugh at the various mullets and facial hair combo’s I have spouted over the years.