This past year I have been writing about how to organize, preserve and digitize photos. In my last post I talked about the importance of metadata, or information about the photo. Today I want to discuss thinking beyond the one liner bit of description most people write on the back of a photo or add to an image online. Our photos help tell the stories of our life but cannot stand alone in telling those stories. We have to write or record the stories attached to our most valued photos so that they become the strong emblems of our memories.
Here are a few ways you can capture your stories to go along with your photos:
1.) Make a digital recording (video + audio or just audio) of your memories of the photo. Better yet, get the story from the person being pictured. You can use the StoryCorp app to help with this project.
2.) Check your email and social media for the “stories” captured at the time the photo was taken and shared. Sometimes the responses are just as valuable as the original story.
3.) Write it down on paper (and then have someone make a digitized copy of your story). Sometimes getting a picture of the stationary and handwriting adds hidden value (especially since cursive handwriting might be a dying skill).
As with your photos, make sure to have multiple back-up copies of your stories. In fact, store them in the same file with your photos, giving it a matching file name. Include the file name of the story in the metadata of your image. That way anyone looking at your files down the road will understand that the files are related.
Sharing the story behind our photos is half the reason we keep them: to invoke nostalgia and to document the meaningful times in our lives.