Sunday, June 14, 2009

Old Photos

One of the many personal projects I've been working on is scanning the many old photos I have. The Fire in 2000 that burned down my apartment, also took the collected negatives of every photo I had. Thankfully, one of the first things the firemen did was to pile photo albums and other irreplaceable stuff on the floor and throw a waterproof tarp over them to protect them so the photos were saved. Go Firemen!

About two years ago, I read a fascinating article in the New Yorker about a professor at Carnegie Mellon, Gordon Bell, who was scanning or digitizing every photo, letter, email, book, web-page, phone calls etc. that he took, looked at, or took part in, turning it into a digital file and storing it paperlessly, rather than being surrounded by the clutter of his life.

Not a bad idea. We seem to be moving towards electronic document storage anyway. The Kindle,'s paperless electronic reader for books and magazines, seems to be a big hit. Like most people, I have an iPod with 10,000 songs and a closet full of boxes of CD that have been turned into mp3s. Like most people, I have a digital camera and thousands of photos on my computer and backed up on disks.

I plan to scan old writings I have lying about (old poems, scribbling, my 2,500 + page journal I've kept for 28 years) but since I lack a replacement format for photos, it's best if I start with them first.

Here is a small selection of some random photos I've scanned. The photo above is of my bookshelves, circa 1988.

Beal Loch, near our home in the Knockmealdown Mountains, covered in rhododendrons. The loch is allegedly bottomless and haunted by the ghost of "Petticoat Loose" condemned to empty it with a thimble for eternity.

A shot of Manhattan circa 1986 from the Circle Line boat tours. Not depicted are the legions of little old blue haired ladies who nattered on without stop for the entire three hour ride.

Muir Woods, looking straight up into the sky at the canopy of redwood trees, several hundred feet high.

Famed City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, home to, and first publisher of, many of the Beat Poets, like Allen Ginsburg and owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti. First publishers of Ginsberg's famous "Howl."

San Francisco's famous Transamerica Pyramid from its base looking up.

The Green Dog Table.

There's a long story about this I'll save for another time.