December 12, 2018

Old Family Photos: Should I Keep Them?

A guest post by Yeshua Quijano

I visited my parents’ home a few weeks ago and decided to clean my old room. I was re-acquainted with the younger version of myself.

I saw old letters and notes from friends and more-than-friends, old toys I refused to let go back then but forgot because I eventually outgrew them, books that I have read so many times I have lost count, clothes that are no longer in fashion, or if I’m being honest, no longer fit me; most importantly, photos - a lot of them!


I had a ball looking through all of them one by one. I relished the nostalgic feeling of every event, trip, occasion, and even just an ordinary day.

Being a part of my family means loving taking photos and posing for them. Way before selfies were invented, our family has always loved memorializing events by taking pictures. A gathering or an out of town trip will never be complete without a family picture.

During sophomore year, I had an elective class which was Photography. We were not allowed to use digital cameras (They were relatively new and expensive back then, so my parents didn’t allow me to bring ours either).

I took a photo of our school grounds during a particularly rainy day and I captured it right before the heavy rain poured. My teacher called my attention and told me how beautiful it was and how much he liked it.

He wanted to buy it, but I said I’ll show it to my mom first and give it back to him. I guess I never got around to doing that because I saw that picture in our photo box.

That made me feel sad. I mean, had I given the picture to my teacher, maybe it would have been appreciated more (maybe even framed and hung somewhere), instead it just sits inside a box that no one really pays much attention to. This got me thinking, “What should we do with old family or any old photos?”

While looking through the photos, I decided to call the rest of the family to come sit with me so we could all look at them together as a family.

Now that my siblings and I are all grown up and each have their own lives, we rarely get together because of varying work schedules. It was a beautiful afternoon because we got to spend it all together reliving the good old days and weekend where we had nowhere to be but home.

The following day, we had a family gathering together with my mother’s side of the family, so I decided to bring some old photos with my cousins in it. My younger cousins were so happy to see they were in some pictures they don’t even know were taken, while the older ones could not believe how young or thin they once were.

Old photos make a good bonding opportunity for families. You get to share stories and laughter together like these memories were only just yesterday.

When my brother first brought his girlfriend to meet us, the first thing they did together was look at old at old photos. Aha! Now I know why they were disorganized inside the box.

Anyway, looking at old photos make for a good conversation starter or topic - especially if you want to know someone at a more personal level. It is the perfect opportunity to share personal stories without feeling awkward. After all, pictures are worth a thousand words and some require a whole of explanation.

After looking at the photos, I decided to organize all of them. When I opened the boxes of photos, they were literally all over the place. They weren’t placed inside properly. So, I categorized them into occasions - birthdays, baptisms, Christmases, New Year’s Eves, family outings, random get togethers, graduations and other school events, and ordinary day photos.

I separated them with an index card specifying a certain category. That way, it would be easier to look for a certain photo when the need arises.

A few years back, we were affected by a strong typhoon. My cousin’s house was hit with flood and they lost almost all their family photos (Thank goodness pictures were the only thing they lost).

I remember him saying that he has been holding off on digitizing their family photos and because their albums were submerged in water, he can no longer do it. I still remember the sound of regret in his voice.

With this in mind, I decided to pick out photos that are extra memorable, especially the ones where the family is complete or really memorable.

I decided that while I cannot digitally store all of them (because there are literally thousands of them), I can choose some that I want to store digitally. This can be a tedious process as it involves long hours of scanning and uploading to your drive of choice, but it is all worth it.

Knowing that my cousin’s wedding is just around the corner, I was tasked by another cousin of ours to set aside photos of occasions and the trips we all went on together as kids and teenagers, until the most recent ones. She told me she was going to make an audio-visual presentation as part of the program.

I have always thought that audio-visual presentations are loving displays of your journey with a certain person or people. With the rise of same day edits, I still love it when old photos are shared because it only goes to show how far a person has come.

Building on the audio-visual presentation, I was able to come up with the perfect wedding gift for my cousin. I have always wanted a reason to get photo books done, but cannot seem to find any. I am going to use our old family photos and gift it to my cousin as he begins to grow his very own collection of family photos. These old photos will also be a good way for him to introduce the rest of his family to his children, don’t you think? Only now, it will come in the form of this gorgeous and luxurious book that contain memories that will last forever.
Yeshua Quijano
Milk Books Scholarships Manager
+1 (424) 389 3485
Head Office: Ironbank, Suite, 404/150 Karangahape Rd, Auckland, 1010
www.milkbooks.com





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