May Is National Photo Month—Label Those Photos and Preserve Your Memories

Craters of the Moon, Idaho, April 2015

Craters of the Moon, Idaho, April 2015

I learned recently that May is National Photo Month. Photographs are easier than ever to take and to share—with cell phones and Instagram we can record our lives by the day or by the minute. Now that Memorial Day is here and summer is beginning, you may be filling up your digital camera’s storage with holiday events, while I sit at my computer writing this post.

Cameras today can record the date and time of the picture, if the time-stamp feature is turned on. That provides part of the information we will later need to remember the occasion when the photograph was taken.

But unless we let Picasa or Facebook or some other facial recognition program determine who is in the picture, we may forget. And unless we let our GPS post our location along with the photo, that, too, could get lost.

Columbia River & Rattlesnake Mountain, from Richland, Washington, April 2015

Columbia River & Rattlesnake Mountain, from Richland, Washington, April 2015

Furthermore, the sheer number of pictures we take today can overwhelm us. I’ve been taking lots of pictures this year as I’ve traveled, from California to Idaho, from Washington to Wyoming. And even a few around home in Missouri.

Most of these pictures are meaningless to anyone other than me. Even I won’t care about many of them in a few years. But I should identify the pictures I treasure, so I’ll remember why I took them and why I saved them in the decades ahead.

I am grateful now to my parents and grandparents who labeled many pictures of generations past. And I wish they had labeled more of them.

Pasadena Boys' Choir in the Rose Parade. My father is in the choir, but I'm not certain of the year.

Pasadena Boys’ Choir in the Rose Parade. My father is in the choir, but I’m not certain of the year (1944 to 1946, I think).

As May—National Photo Month—draws to a close, take some time to label your photographs. Add a name to the generic date/time name your smartphone or digital camera gives the photo. Or label them the old-fashioned way—print them off and write on the back.

If you don’t have time now, at least add labeling your photographs to your to-do list. And for overachievers, write down your memories of the event when the photo was taken.

Though I confess, organizing photographs of my children has been on my to-do list for over twenty years.

What tasks do you put off as long as you can?

Posted in Family, Philosophy and tagged , , .


  1. I liked your details in here. It was nice to see the Rose Parade float with knowing your father had been “aboard” in children’s choir. Hope you are having a nice Memorial day, Theresa.

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