Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Making History: Preserving Family Photos

by Nomi Wagner
Nomi & Family
Thanksgiving with family, 2011

Do you know all about your relatives, past and present… their life stories, dreams, talents, passions? I don’t, but I wish I did. My life and work has been all about saving visual memories for family, friends and clients. I did interview my mother and make a video of her life story several years back, and I just completed an iMovie of our Thanksgiving Week 2011, but there is so much more I could do to document our family.

I would like to leave a better legacy for my children, grandchildren, and those to follow. It’s daunting, especially since I work full time and love painting and drawing portrait commissions, but I think even the smallest attempt at creating a family history is better than nothing.

Documenting your family memories can start at any age.

I have so many thoughts and ideas of what I could do, and I hope to inspire others to do some things to preserve their memories. This information isn’t reserved for older people like myself. I started my first photo album at age 10, when I got my first camera. Kids today have access to cameras in all sorts of forms and take lots of photos of their families, friends, and the events in their lives.

But what will happen to all of these photos? 

Nomi's photo albums
Some of my photo albums

My photo albums number over 80 (plus 32 scrapbooks!), but, when digital photography came in, I stopped having prints made. I figured that we could just look at photos on my computer. And, even though they love looking through the albums, I wonder what the heck my kids are going to do with that huge collection!

Nomi's grandkids
Grandkids looking at the albums, 2004

Many of us have a gazillion digital photos sitting on our computers. They are today’s form of boxes of photos. And like the old photos in those boxes, they are usually of unnamed people. We think we will remember who the people are, but we won’t be able to pass on this information if we don’t do something about it.

More family albums
They never tire of the albums. 2009


What have you done to preserve your family history?

I hope you will stay tuned as I share some ideas. I would appreciate your feedback and suggestions of ways to MAKE HISTORY!