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Old Family Photos
May 24, 2004 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Gallery of the Unamed. As much as i love digital cameras, i doubt that in a hundred years our descendants will rummage thru stacks of old flash cards or CD's looking for pictures. Here is almost 10,000 old photographs...not only the unknown, but Civil War veterans, railroads, fire departments...or you can search by location or surname. I've already spent hours and hours looking. Have some of your own? Go ahead and send them in...
posted by th3ph17 (14 comments total)

 
This is very cool, thanks! There's something to be said for the persistence of analog media (I'd like to see people read flash cards and CDs in twenty years, let alone a hundred).
posted by carter at 11:06 AM on May 24, 2004


these are great! how old do you suppose this poor kid was when he was killed? he already looks scared in his tintype.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:26 AM on May 24, 2004


i doubt that in a hundred years our descendants will rummage thru stacks of old flash cards or CD's looking for pictures

What about the gigabytes of unnamed photos found online?
posted by mathowie at 11:26 AM on May 24, 2004


mat - yeah the irony of that statement in this post made me laugh (out loud, even).
posted by kavasa at 11:29 AM on May 24, 2004


And reminded me of the random personal picture finder.
posted by carter at 11:50 AM on May 24, 2004


in a hundred years our descendants will rummage thru stacks of old flash cards or CD's looking for pictures.

Well, actually, that's exactly what they'll do... only to throw them away after reading the data in.
posted by azazello at 11:55 AM on May 24, 2004


Well, actually, that's exactly what they'll do... only to throw them away after reading the data in.

i guess i should have worded that....in a hundred years i doubt our descendants will be able to.......since the CD's most likely won't last that long.

Perhaps by then Google --a sentient AI by 2091-- will be the world dictator and all media will be archived forever.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:08 PM on May 24, 2004


i just realized i left out a link....This shows you how to date an old photograph.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:15 PM on May 24, 2004


Thanks for the link!

This is my father's church while growing up. My Grandfather is burried in the cemetery out back. My Grandmother still lives in Parker, as does my uncle and cousin.

I was flipping through my grandmother's old scrap books after my Grandfather died a year ago. A lot of these pictures seem straight out of her album. I spent a lot of time in Parker visiting them. Both my grandparents were born there, I've learned a lot about the area. It has quite a history.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:48 PM on May 24, 2004


AND.... Also, relatives on my Grandmother's side, as well as my Grandfather's!

Again, THANKS for the link!
posted by tomplus2 at 12:56 PM on May 24, 2004


In the picture is my great grandfather's men's store.
posted by tomplus2 at 1:04 PM on May 24, 2004


> As much as i love digital cameras, i doubt that in a hundred years our
> descendants will rummage thru stacks of old flash cards or CD's looking
> for pictures.

I love digital too, with a caveat: if you want your images (or your deathless prose, or whatever your creativity genes compel you to make) to be appreciated in 1000 years (or even 20 years, most likely) you best be sure you create in some medium that's human-readable without any sort of technical infrastructure that is going to have its fifteen minutes of popularity and then disappear.

As Imhotep could tell you, "carved in stone" is not just a metaphor.
posted by jfuller at 3:46 PM on May 24, 2004


There seem to be two equally wrong schools of thought about digital media, generally experienced in this order:

1.) It's digital! It'll last forever!
2.) Wait, CDs actually break down quicker than paper. And the standards might change.


These are both, of course, wrong... well, the first is wrong, the second misses the point. Things that have been passed down through the ages have done so because someone values them enough to make copies, each of which has its own lifespan which is hopefully less than the amount of time it takes for another copy to be made.

A family that cares enough about preserving its history to keep grandma's boxes of pictures rather than tossing them will care enough to transfer them from her computer to one of theirs, and so on down the line, with conversions if the file format is on the way out and backups/transfers that are more frequent than the breakdown of their media.
posted by dagnyscott at 5:39 PM on May 24, 2004


Oh, and "carved in stone" doesn't mean "permanent", it means "difficult to erase or modify"
posted by dagnyscott at 5:40 PM on May 24, 2004


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