Last year I discovered that my family’s photos were in a pretty sad state of disarray. I can’t really blame my parents for this; three kids and full-time jobs tend to keep a person busy enough that their family heirlooms get stuffed in a bag to be dealt with later. Of the photos that had made it into albums, about half were still sitting in those terrible old, adhesive albums. The adhesive had turned uselessly unsticky, and I can only imagine what kind of long-term damage that stuff does to a photo. I don’t think acid-free glue existed back in the 70s. More alarming, though, were the photos I found from 20 or 30 years ago that were starting to turn red and unrecognizable. If I didn’t preserve them now, we might permanently lose them.
So I came up with the idea of scanning in all the photos, designing albums for them, and printing them as hardcover books for my family. Oh, and I also retouched any photos that needed it, which turned out to be most. It was a beast of a project.
All told, I had 1,856 photos to deal with. It took me months just to scan and organize them. Some photos had been diligently labeled (thanks Mom) and others had no captions at all (thanks Mom) which meant I spent a significant amount of time tracking down information about them too.
Then came the color correcting. I consider myself pretty skilled with Photoshop, but I really struggled with some of the color processing. Trying to take out some of the red while still preserving skin tones was tough. Here are a few I’m particularly proud of:
When it came to the design of the albums, Allen suggested it be chemistry themed, since Dad is a retired chemistry professor and met my mom through the chemistry department. A brilliant idea. It made the books a little more playful and personal; plus, chemistry lends itself to a lot of great graphics.
I gave everyone Volume One for Christmas this past year, with plans to divvy out the remaining two next Christmas. They were definitely greatly appreciated.