Preserving and archiving old photos, movies, and letters.

If you like photography and photojournalism, you should consider following Lens, a New York Times section devoted to “Photography, Video and Visual Journalism”. It has become  my favorite section of the paper. It has also led to a family project. On 29 November 2016,  James Estrin wrote a piece for Lens about photographer Arthur Bondar’s efforts to archive rare photos of World War II shot by Valery Faminksy, a Soviet war photographer. That article helped motivate my family to archive my grandfather’s photos, movies, and letters from his assignments in World War II, Turkey, and Korea.

Like so many Americans of his era, my grandfather joined the military at the onset of World War II. He was a field artillery officer who eventually got assigned to the Third Army. He also had a keen interest in photography and cameras. It’s long overdue, but we are starting to catalog the film, letters, photos, and slides that he compiled during the Third Army’s advance, his military instructor stint in Istanbul in the late 40s and early 50s, and his tour with UN forces in Korea after the Korean War.

Rolleiflex Baby

We’re in the early stages of looking at the images and the correspondence. I’m mentioning this here because I imagine there are many people in the WordPress community who have embarked on similar projects. We’d love to benefit from your experience, especially when it comes to respectfully and sensitively handling difficult images. For example, some of the images provide grim, painful depictions of what we suspect were concentration camps. We intend to contact the Anne Frank Center and Holocaust museums to get their thoughts and advice on how to compassionately and respectfully introduce WWII images for the historical record. Again, if any of you in the WordPress community have pursued similar projects – please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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