family history

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My father is a prolific photographer...always has been. As a child, I remember the closet shelves in his study that were filled with shoeboxes of photos and slides. Many of his best photos graced the walls of our house (and some hang on my walls now).

After his retirement, he decided to tackle the herculean task of digitizing the literally thousands of images that were filling boxes, drawers, and shelves. And as he's worked through those images, he's assembled some of the best into a series of photo books. He prints the pages of the books on a color printer, spiral binds them, and sends copies to me and my sister.

One of the books is called "Sisters," and has photos of me and my sister from infancy through today. Another, "Pals," has pictures of all of us with friends throughout the years. Some are less personal--"Animals," "Signs," "Travel," etc.

My favorite, though, is the first one he compiled. "The Early Years" is an autobiographical photo essay that begins with some extraordinary images of my grandparents and great-grandparents in Germany in the early 1900s, follows my father's childhood growing up in Germany in the 1930s and 40s, explores his experiences as a "half-Jew" in Germany during WWII, and ends with his emigration to and first years in California with his parents before he met my mother.

I want to share these photos and the story they tell, and he's given me permission to do so. The question is how. The way he presented them, with groups of related images on each page, works well from a narrative standpoint--which makes Flickr a little less ideal. I wish there were a way to take a group of photos in Flickr and create a single blog entry from them--that would probably be the ideal approach. The blog entry could aggregate the related photos and allow for some narrative framing. The photos could then link back to Flickr for people who wanted to see the larger versions, annotate them, add individual comments to the images, etc.

I'll probably use MT to implement the site that shares these--I'd rather have a dedicated site rather than including the content here. I don't know yet if it will be a traditional dated blog entry format, or simply MT as CMS in some other form.

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I found the Flickr.Net workspace over at GotDotNet (I'm not linking to the stupid thing as it doesn't work! what a load of crap it is) which attempts to create a .Net library for accessing the Flickr API Read More


Hi Liz,

Interesting idea; came across something similar yesterday through Jason Kottke - his post mentions 'fliction' an idea of descriptive storytelling through pictures. Linky Here

What a wonderful project. I'll be looking forward to seeing it!

You might want to contact Geoffrey Rockwell at McMaster University. Dissatisfied with the results obtained from export features of proprietary software, he has written a Ruby program to produce slide shows. Some example of slide shows he has created can be accessed using the following URL

From the comments to the Ruby program:
# This program creates a slide show from a collection of images.
# First you run it with the -x parameter to create an xml page which
# can be edited to add titles and text for each slide.
# Then you run it with the -s parameter to build a site of html pages
# from the xml document.

Liz, I’ve done this before, with flickr, by brute force. I just get the images from flickr and fiddle with the HTML to make the blog entry do what I want.

The Code is strong with you, so I’m certain that you can do such a thing far more easily than a ham-fisted hacker such as I. And it’s OK with flickr, so long as each image is hyperlinked back to its flickr page — at least that’s what I was told a few months ago.

I do the same as Akma: I take the HTML that Flickr generated when I created a blog entry from a single photo, and then I copy & paste it several times into a new blog entry. Then for each photo in Flickr, I select 'All sizes', then 'Small', then copy and paste the presented HTML over the old link in my new blog entry. (You also need to update the picture number and text in the copy of the caption that Flickr originally generated). Then finally I add all the narrative text to my new blog entry, and post it.

Here's an example of the result.

And yes, this is a dreadful pain, and an enormous contrast to the ease of doing 'Blog this' on a single image. Hopefully someone at Flickr reads this...

Just to say - don't think it'll help (I've got a sneaking suspicion you're a mac user) but I've written a .Net library and as the sample application it takes your sets and gives you the HTML for the whole lot in one go (in fact it was this post that gave me the inspiration for the app).

Just thought you might like to know.

Everyone at Flickr reads this :)

In the fullness of time, it will get done :)

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on November 5, 2004 9:54 AM.

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