There is a particular fondness that I hold for digital photograph collections. If I had to pinpoint when this began, then I would have to say it started while digitizing material on a simple Epson flatbed scanner as an undergraduate student worker in the archives.
Witnessing the physical become digital is a wonder that never gets old.
Every day we are generating digital content. Pet pics. Food pics. Selfies. Gradually building a collection of experiences as we document our lives in images. Sporadic born digital collections stored on devices and in the cloud.
I do not remember the last time I printed a photograph.
My parents have photo albums that I love. Seeing images of them, then us. The tacky adhesive and the crinkle of thin plastic film as it is pulled back to lift out a photo. That perfect square imprint left behind from where the photo rested on the page.
Pretty sure that Polaroid camera is still around somewhere.
Time bound up in a book.
Beyond their visual appeal, I appreciate how photos capture time. Nine months have passed since I moved to North Carolina. I started 2019 in Chicago and ended it in Durham. These photos of my Winter in both places illustrate that change well.
Sometimes I want to pull down my photos from the cloud and just print everything. Make my own album. Have something with heft and weight to share and say, “Hey, hold and look at this.” That sensory experience is invaluable.
Yet, I also value the convenience of being able to view hundreds of photos with the touch of a button.
Duke University Libraries offers access to thousands of images through its Digital Collections.
Here’s a couple photo collections to get you started: