Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

2013 Resolution – Time to Get That Personal History Done!



Flickr photo:ßialoipokku

2013 marks the 10 year anniversary of Legacy Multimedia. It will be later this fall and I will commemorate the decade in a fitting manner…. later.

Right now, with the new year, and this huge blank slate of time before me, I want to focus on my new mantra regarding my own personal history, “get ‘er done!” (Since I live in Texas, I can talk to myself in cowboy language.)

Right about the time that I was starting Legacy Multimedia, I also started the long and complex process of digitizing and organizing my own family and my parents’ vast collection of photographs and film. I think I started with dad’s film, transferring some 5 hours of old 8mm film, shot between the early 1950s through the early 1970s. Then I began to focus on my own boxes of film. When I began shooting some time in the early 1980s, I had a huge VHS recorder, the kind that weighed 10 lbs and you had to rest it on your shoulder in order to shoot. Later I downsized to a smaller 8mm tape camera but between the two of them, I transferred some 10 hours of film. After that I started working on scanning and organizing all my old family photographs, most were in albums. And that was when I got sidetracked with my parents’ collection.

Photos were everywhere, all hard copy photographs and negatives, none of them organized in any meaningful way. All thrown into shoe boxes, cardboard boxes, and other ‘storage’ containers spanning some 50 years. I slowly began the task of sorting these out and putting them into collections, organized either by subject or time frame. Then I scanned most of them. At that point, I started to design several hard-cover photo books so that my family could have access to all the photos without having to further degrade the quality of the originals, which were put into archival storage boxes.

Then I found myself on another track. My father, who was a prominent photographer in the late 1940s to early 1950s, had a resurgence of interest in his work; museums and private collectors began paying attention again. So I began helping him organize his archival collection, building a website, www.martinelkort.com, and eventually, the start of a documentary about his work, which I am in post-production on now. I still have to get it finished but it’s taking shape and I am expecting it to be complete sometime later this year. As my father moves into his 84th year, I still have a lot of things I am doing to support his photography. I have been organizing the digital archives of his photography and I have joined an organization that supports people managing large photographic estates and am learning how to setup his so that when he’s gone, I will be able to continue his photo legacy.

In the last weeks of 2012, I refocused my attention back on my own media. I upgraded hard drives and began the process of moving video files off old and smaller drives to larger and more efficient drives; organizing, key wording and notating as I went. I also reviewed several hours worth of video and got inspired to continue to build family history videos that I started 10 years ago, before I got sidetracked. All of this organization and review has led me to a bigger picture on what I have and what needs to be done. Chances are, I will get sidetracked again, I know that about myself. (Oh look, it’s a butterfly!) But I can see, 10 years down the road, that I have made a huge dent in the work that needed to be done and the task appears much more manageable to me now. I am committed to getting it done!

How about you? I am sure the task looks insurmountable if you haven’t even looked in the closet and appraised the collection of media yet. I help people all the time with this very task, and yet dealing with my own past and piles of media was a daunting process. I know that yours looks similar to you. My advice, break it down into baby steps. Get one thing done at a time. If you want to really be organized, take an inventory of media and write out the process for approaching this. I am happy to help you look at it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you. You can email me questions on this website, tweet them to me @stefanitwyford or post questions on my Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/legacymultimedia. I am happy and excited to help you.

So what’s stopping you this year?

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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