Our photos are the trophies of our lives

Our photos are the trophies of our lives

For years my mother had old photos of myself and other family members and friends thumbtacked to a corkboard in her kitchen. When I moved my mother out of her home a few years ago I had to remove these up to 40-year-old photos that were now faded and yellow and had multiple tiny holes in them from the repeated thumbtacking. If one didn’t know better you might have thought that I and my other family members were victims of some terrible voodoo ritual. Maybe Mom did have some unresolved feelings she was expressing, but more likely they just kept falling down.

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…scanned from my archive. Posing at Grandpa’s studio

…scanned from my archive. Posing at Grandpa’s studio

I’ve mentioned many time that my Grandfather, Boris Lenoff, owned and ran a portrait studio on the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. It later moved to Ocean Parkway and probably closed sometime in the sixties when he sold off the entire inventory of cameras and photo files.

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…scanned from my archive. Tim and Nico go out Midwest – 1974

…scanned from my archive. Tim and Nico go out Midwest – 1974

In 1974 my brothers Tim and Nico took a trip out the Midwest to visit their grandparents. My stepmother Susan was originally from Minnesota but her parents had relocated to Missouri and so the family took off for the heartland. Along the way they stopped for a visit to Mount Rushmore.

I love this shot that my father took. The quintessential snapshot would have typically had my brothers facing the camera, framed from head to toe (because we all know how important it is to include footwear in meaningful family portraits), with the four presidents shrunk to minuscule versions of themselves in the background.

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Saving your family photo collection from devastating events

Saving your family photo collection from devastating events

I recently had a chance to visit the fire zone in Agoura and Malibu, this was the wildfire called the Woolsey Fire that scorched parts of LA and Ventura Counties in November of 2018. It burned almost 100k acres, destroyed over 1600 homes and killed three people. Almost 300,000 people had to evacuate their homes, and it was many days before they could return because of fallen power lines and the danger from falling trees and branches. Most were lucky to return to intact homes, but many were not.

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Don't run away from your photos!

Don't run away from your photos!

We are living in a constant state of digital acquisition and accumulation, and nowhere is that more evident than with our photos. Last year it was estimated that over one trillion photos were taken.

How many did you take? Now think about how many photos you will have in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? And what about video? Yikes!

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Before and After - A 100 year old print of my paternal Grandmother.

Before and After - A 100 year old print of my paternal Grandmother.

I have been scanning thousands of my old family prints. It is not very realistic to retouch and restore every print that I scan, but the good ones, maybe images I will want to print in an album, I will take some time and fix them up. It is very cool to see an old yellowed, faded and damaged print look like new (almost).

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