On rainy days in summer I turn to the thousands of family photos I have and work on sorting, filing, and yes, even culling. My objective is to create a catalog of pictures that are mostly identified as to time, place, and the people in them. This collection derives mostly from my mother and grandmother, including many sent to my grandmother from her relatives in England, covering more than 100 years. With my mother’s help, most are sorted into decades, many people are named and we’ve even taken best guesses at locations.
My most recent effort with this took me into the 1980s with a box of mini photo disks (example pictured). These were briefly popular, but eventually disappeared from the consumer market because they were awkward to process and produced poor quality prints. The disks I have were not stored with their prints (that would be too easy) and it’s very tempting to just dump them. After all, if the prints turn up in the collection, they won’t be very good, and getting new prints made would be very expensive. However, as the steward of the collection, I try to exercise due diligence. My light table that I use for slides wasn’t good enough, so I turned to YouTube and found a useful video on how to use an iPad as light table. With this setup, I can get a good digital photo of the disk with my iPhone and invert it in Photoshop to see the positive images. This gives me enough information to identify the images and decide if they are worth keeping.