About the archive
For it is up to you and me
to take solace
in nostalgia's arms
and our ability
from fleeting moments.
When someone takes a photo, shoots a movie, saves a newspaper clipping or a letter, it signifies importance: “this mattered.” Each item is a pixel of importance, and over a lifetime, these pixels form images of people and their times.
But only if they’re saved and seen. That means bridging the gap between the analog and digital worlds, preserving moments that mattered to someone and then presenting them.
This is my experiment at that effort. I’m lucky to have a lot of pixels of importance. My dad was an entertainer and ran a recording studio as well as one of the world’s first private radio announcing school. He recorded songs, jingles, radio programs, and family gatherings. He also took photos and home movies. Add to this snapshots taken by other family members; my own home movies, photos, and recordings, media I made in my nerdy youth; and things my mom stashed in the attic of the Pittsburgh house where I grew up.
My mom lived in that house for 68 years. Those deep roots meant that most of these artifacts stayed in one place instead of scattering to the winds as they might in families that move a lot. When my mom passed away in 2014, I shipped and hand-carried box after box from Pittsburgh to California: photos, movies, radio recordings, letters, newspaper clippings, and so much more,
This project is about preserving and sharing enough of these things to paint that picture of a family and its times. Each post is a pixel in a picture that will come together over time.
I’m doing this for myself and for family and friends, but I hope everyone will enjoy browsing here. There can be something warmly familiar about someone else’s old family artifacts. My sister had that same bike! These look like grandpa’s home movies! We went there once, too!
By reminding us of small bits of common ground, these meaningless similarities can become meaningful.
I work for Lynda.com, a LinkedIn company, planning courses on photography, including photo restoration.
About the photo
The photo at the top of this page is a detail from a 1977 photo that shows the desk in a certain 17-year-old’s room. He still has that slide projector.