Feed on

Memory Lane

Simon Day 2This past fall I promised myself that for Simon’s first birthday, I’d go through our careful Gallery photos, order up my favorites, and make a physical album. Before I had a chance, our server suffered a fatal disc error and wiped out our album. Turns out, Matt hadn’t gotten around to backing up Gallery since before our move. And he didn’t have a month-by-month directory of files as they came off the camera until February. And—on top of all of that—our older digital camera stopped recording the date pictures were taken in November of 2006, and we didn’t get our new camera until late February 2007.

So where once I had a careful selection of pictures of Simon, carefully sorted by month and cleverly captioned, I am now left with two imperfect records: the first being the image files straight from the camera; the second, the JPEGs recovered from the server’s lost and found directory.

The problem with the files from the lost and found directory is that it leaves me with thousands of images to sort and doesn’t record dates. The camera files leave me with dated images for late February through the present, but they are undated and organized for the early months and include all the pictures we’ve ever taken—the good, the bad, and the shiny and badly focused alike. Neither approach gives me back my captions, either.

This is all rather sad. This past weekend, I determined it was time to stop lamenting what could have been if we had backed up (or even had a good archiving strategy or a fully functioning camera), and time to start digging through the mess. I first ran through all the camera files, sorting into folders by month. For the ones without dates, I used my blog, an album my mom put together, snaps I resized for my IM icon, and memory to help. That got me to a livable level of completeness.

Having spent a good 15 hours or so on this over the weekend, Monday I began looking over the lost and found files to recover some pics I didn’t find from Matt’s stash. These are organized by camera type, and I had all the ones from our two major cameras. But what about the photos others took? The hunt began.

Well holy moley. We have/had far more pictures on okcomputer than I remembered. And many of us have far more cameras than I could imagine! As tedius as the searching was, after a time it became a game to see how quickly I could identify the photographer. Frequently, I could get it when the first picture from a given directory was 25-50% loaded. Belly dance costume or underwater shot? Diana. Bicycle race? Ian. Top of Kalyna’s head?—and yes, I can recognize the hair on top of her head—Shawn and Yun. Vaguely Eastern block looking city? Mike. Artsy shot of a metal door? Susan or Jim. Headshot? Susan. Close-up of food? Jim. Many close-ups of historical document? I’m guessing Harriette. Cute blond boy at family picnic? I have no idea! I recognized no one in a shocking number of photos, a situation that made me feel like a voyeur.

The second revelation is that my perception of Simon is forever changing, and thatSimon Cradle perhaps obsessive photo preserving has its downsides. I thought Simon was lovely at birth. In hindsight, he kind of looked like a skinny alien. Then I though he was super adorable at the two week mark. In hindsight, he looked like a slightly fatter alien. He doesn’t really begin to look like himself until later in the winter, and he doesn’t start to look as cute as I remember him February at the earliest, and more likely April or May.

The same shifting of perspective happened when I looked at my own baby book not too long ago. The baby portrait my mother has of me in her back bedroom features a terribly adorable baby. My baby book, however, tells a more complete and less flattering story. I sure hope that years from now I don’t look back at Simon’s album—the one I’m killing myself to put together—and have similar thoughts!

Posted for your viewing pleasure, two pics from way back when.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.