I was born in a time of pictures that were developed from film and duplicates made. A time you took three of the same shot to make sure you got the picture right, but then developed and kept them all because it was so expensive. You would get duplicates made and send them to grandparents.
When my grandmother’s died, my inheritance was shoeboxes full of pictures. When my mom died, it became an avalanche of more pictures (as this inheritance contained pictures she inherited from her mother and her own pictures). My avalanche of pictures contains 4-8 of the same shot with slight differences. As I received these photos, I would stuff them in boxes, tuck them in folders, hide them in drawers, there were even 15 of my favorites in the cedar chest (still not sure why I thought that was a good idea).
I need to get a handle on this, as this is not something I want to leave to anyone else. I have given myself permission to throw out pictures if 1) I do not know who is in them, I really have no one to ask and that just makes me anxious 2) I have many of the same shot just slightly different 3) there is no reason for them. This one is a bit harder, as it is a personal call. My litmus test is can I identify the subject matter, does the back ground give me a picture of the setting at that time that I want to remember and might not without the photo, would it make me smile to see this picture again and if so, I keep the picture and if not, I throw it out.
I know, I could scan it and save it and… and what? I work in a genealogy department and we have boxes and boxes of donated pictures with no idea who they are, the time period (you can guess to some degree), where they are taken. We even do a weekly “help us ID this picture” on our website. But for the most part, these pictures are never going to be identified as the people who could do that, are not with us.
My intention for this year is to gather up these pictures, sort through them, toss the ones I really do not need, and put them in albums. Seems a tall task, but it is only January.