disappearing heirlooms

My father on a bike, c1925

Toronto. We have all seen Victorian Photo Albums chock full of CDVs etc. at fairs, auctions, and sometimes used goods stores. The albums came along around the mid 1800s when cheap CDVs became available and a place to store and view the photos was needed. Nowadays they are rich fodder for collectors and historians.

As time passed, less expensive albums came to market with black pages and special ‘lick and stick’ tabs to anchor the corners of the prints. My grandmother carefully selected images from her box camera and added them to such an album in date order making her album a family heirloom.

Others used shoe boxes or other small boxes to hold special photo prints such as the one at left. In the mid last century so called ‘magnetic’ albums became popular. Sticky strips on a thick white page were covered by clear plastic sheets which were pulled up to add prints. Very convenient but not so good for the prints.

After the magnetic albums ran their course, the idea of a photograph album faded. Today most photos are images on a computer or smartphone. Really convenient to view, send and store. A much faster search can be done using EXIF, etc. data.

But what happens when you move on or the format changes or viewers change or software changes (or you simply shed this ‘mortal coil’)? Disappearing Heirlooms indeed …

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