Welcome to “Scan Your Entire Life ” – a website to help everyday people learn how to scan, restore, organize, preserve and share your irreplaceable family photograph collections.
From Childhood to Profession
My name is Curtis Bisel and I’m the guy behind “Scan Your Entire Life.” It’s not easy to explain, but in addition to loving photography and computers from a young age, I have always had an unusual obsession for preserving my treasured items digitally.
Since 1999, I have been working in Los Angeles digitally preserving moving pictures by editing television shows and documentaries about feature films. And then in my personal time I have focused this passion to digitizing my family’s photo collection, greeting cards, childhood artwork, videos, important documents – anything and everything that would be missed if lost or destroyed.
There’s just something in me that needs to collect, group and preserve.
Surprisingly, I didn’t start the huge undertaking of scanning our family’s entire photograph collection until August 8, 2001. This abruptly ended however before I even scanned my second photograph. Even though I deal with many of the technical aspects of digital images in my line of work, it’s a bit different from archiving images in that the image only has a one-time use.
Archiving photographs, I discovered, is a different animal. It requires an understanding that from the time of capture, these new digital files have now become the true ‘master files’ and will have to serve every purpose asked of them for years to come.
For the eight years in between these two scans, I did a lot of research looking for the magical digital workflow that would meet my quality needs in the future but would also be fairly easy to apply over a large collection. My family’s collection is huge – easily thousands of prints and who knows how many boxes of slides. It has to be easy because if it’s not, then it will feel like work and then I might as well send them off to a recommended scanning service.
Why this “Scan Your Entire Life” Blog?
This site tracks my achievements in digitizing my entire life as I show you how to do the same with yours.
If you’re like me – and if you are still reading this you probably are – you have been singled out as the only one in your family that has this inner-passion or ability to preserve these memories. And let’s face it … if you don’t do it … it probably isn’t going to get done! Are you with me on that one?
Even if you have no intention of scanning anything yourself and are planning on using a scanning service, I can still help you immensely with everything you have to do before and more importantly after you get your photographs back.
For example that CD or DVD you just received from the scanning service full of digital files with illogical names like “062295-01.jpg” and “062495-03.jpg” still requires a lot of planning, knowhow and work to be transformed into an organized and useful digital collection.
And listen, I am certainly not the end of the line for knowledge on digital preservation. I just happen to be someone who has thought about it a lot, has done the research and experimentation to know what seems to work for the average person with modest scanners, software and abilities. I am still learning more and more every day, but is loving this opportunity to share with you what I have learned along the way.
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Please feel free to join in on any conversation in the user comments section for all posts and share with us your personal experience. Even the simplest things can seem complicated when you have never done them before. I welcome and encourage all perspectives.
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It truly is a venture for every one of us to preserve a record of our lives we leave behind. So here’s to the start of your journey!
I hope you enjoy Scanning Your Entire Life.