A Quick Opinion: Finding old photos for yesteryear is a full-time job

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Charley Wallace
Publisher Emeritus

Picking out old photos for the Express isn’t as easy as you might think. For a while I was just choosing photos of people that I knew so that I didn’t have to find the actual paper to identify everyone. I ran out of people that I knew and started finding interesting photos and then turning the pages of old newspapers trying to find the printed photo. It took forever.

Thanks to Tom Crisp, who scanned thousands of photos from our 35 mm film, and put them into yearly computer files, it made the job a little easier. I think he scanned more than 68,000 photos by the time he was done. Most of the photos of are of people’s armpits during basketball games or long shots of football games. When I told Tom to just delete those types of photos, he winced like I had committed a crime.

Now, I can sit at my computer and scroll through each year’s photos, find ones that I like, and then look at a digital file of the Winters Express and match the photos with the story. I’m still trying to figure out how to have the computer search for names in the newspapers, but I’m sure someone will come to my rescue and show me a trick or two.

A big problem with looking through old copies of the Express is that I start to read a lot of the stories, and the couple of hours that I had set aside for yesteryear photos turns into a couple of days or weeks. Luckily I have time on my hands and I enjoy reading about our past. Hopefully, the weekly photo brings back memories for you, too.

Sometimes it is frustrating to find a nice photo but then can’t find it in the newspaper. This happened more that I would like to admit when I was running the Express. You would take pictures but when the time came to put that week’s paper together, you ran out of room and the photos never made it into print. Even if you planned to run them the next week, you ran into the same problem with space.

When the Express got a web page, I always thought it would be a great place to just showcase all of the photos that were taken. If you look at wintersexpress.com you will see that Taylor has done a great job of putting a lot of photos on the site for subscribers to see. Newspapers have had to evolve over the years and one of the positives is that you can put more on a website than into a printed version of the paper.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get caught up on my “Years Ago” photos. If I can find 52, I can take the rest of the year off. Right now, I’m stuck in the 1970s where most of you might now know the people in the photos, but I will try to move into the 1990s in a couple of months.

Stay safe and enjoy 2022.

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