I have now been at the helm of Forgotten Fort Collins for 6 months. I’ve navigated some interesting waters and met many new people as I’ve paddled along. But I’ve decided it’s time for some course correcting. And I’m going to need your help. I want to add in a little reader participation as a regular feature. If you all grab the bait and this thing really takes off, then I might make this a regular weekly post. But if I only get bread crumbs here and there, I’ll skooch them all together into one monthly post.
So here’s what I’m looking for. I want your photos. OK, so I don’t actually want you to drive over and drop them in my mailbox. But I would like digital copies that I can repost. And I’m hoping to collect photos along themes, such as pets, “School Days,” holidays, and so on. I’ll be putting reminders on social media and at the end of web posts so you’ll remember what the theme of the month is and where to send copies of your photos.
You don’t have to have a fancy scanner. All I require is a reasonably clear snapshot of the original photo taken with a digital camera or phone. (Although if you’d like to use a fancy scanner, I certainly wouldn’t complain.) It might take some practice before you get good at it. Taking a photo of a photo means moving the photo, the camera, and yourself all over the place until you get just the right angle to capture the photo without including any glare or reflections.
I don’t want a 100 photos from you. I just want a few from a bunch of different people so we can have a cool series of shared photos each week/month. Here’s an example of a post created from community contributions on our sister site, Growing Up Fort Collins. (In fact, this is the post that inspired me to change things up a bit so we could include something like this.)
Here are the “rules.”
- You have to be the owner of the photo. You can’t go to a friends house, snap a copy of one of their family photos and send it to me. It has to be yours. (It’s OK if the photo was taken by your mom or grandpa or great, great auntie. If the person that took the photo has already passed on to the other side, then you can’t very well ask their permission to share the photo. But if it was taken by your son or sister or someone that’s still around, make sure they’re OK with you sharing the photo.)
- Sending a copy of the photo to me means that you’re OK with me sharing the picture online either through social media or on the blog. I’ll always give attributions as to where the photo came from. But by sending a copy of a photo to me, you’re giving me permission to post it when and where I want to. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get silly and post your photos all over the web. But you might send me a pet photo that I think fits better in the “funny photos” section. So I might hold on to it and post it at a later date. That’s all I mean by “when and where I want.” Because I’m going to give attribution, it will help me out if you tell me how you want the photo to be attributed. Do you want me to say, “Photo thanks to John Smith,” or “Photo taken by Marietta Smith and sent in by her great grandson, John”?) Edit: Another blogger pointed out that even if I post a photo and give attribution, there’s nothing to stop someone else on the web from lifting the photo and reposting it elsewhere. This doesn’t happen often, but it is a possibility. So I just want to make sure people know that.
- All photos have to be from 1990 or earlier. This is a history site and I’ve gotta draw the line somewhere. For now let’s just make it simple and aim for pre-90s. (I almost said pre-80s, but then we’d miss all those big hair pictures and that’s just too much of a sacrifice.)
- Stick to the theme. Every month (or week, if people start sending in enough photos) I’ll announce what the theme is that I’m looking for. Only send photos for that theme! Otherwise I’ll get bogged down with car photos when I’m looking for pet photos and so on.
- Include names and dates when you can. If you know the people in the photo, please tell me who they are so I can include that information. Even if you don’t know the exact date, at least take an educated guess and just add the word “circa” before it if you’re guessing.
- Send photos and details to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll reply with a quick email to let you know I got the photo(s). I might also ask questions if there’s anything I’m unsure of. I doubt I’ll have time to alert you before the photos get posted, so you’ll just have to keep watching the website and social media sites. (If you watch one social media site ** Facebook, Twitter, or Google+** then you’ll see it. You don’t have to watch them all.)
Here’s the themes as I’ve laid them out so far. Right now I’ve got one theme listed per month, but I also have a bunch more ideas that I’d love to throw into the mix if I get enough of a response. And I’d like a variety of people to respond. There are some folks who have already scanned and shared a lot of their family photos, and I’m kinda counting on them to help make this work. But I don’t want only their photos. I want photos from all walks of life, all stages of life, all part of FoCo and beyond (as long as it’s in northern Colorado), all neighborhoods, all backgrounds…. you get the picture.
Here’s the list. Don’t worry, I’ll be repeating these each month. But I thought I’d give the full list now so you can start digging through your photo albums.
September 2014 – School photos: Send me a copy of yourself (or your children, or your parents) in an official school photo. Include the name of the person in the photo, the year (or as close as you can figure), and the school. Don’t send more than one photo of each individual, but you can send each person in the family. Feel free to pick the funniest, most dated photos you can find, if you want. Or send just the pretty ones. It’s all good. These should be photos taken by the professional photographer that comes into the school. They can’t be pics by your mom. We’ll save those for another time.
October 2014 – Costumes: Send me a copy of a family halloween (or other dress up event) photo. Remember, this is a family friendly site, so nothing racy (even if you were in college at the time and the photo is very funny. I don’t want to have to put black boxes over any parts of these photos.)
November 2014 – Thanksgiving Day: Send me a copy of your family sitting down to eat the Thanksgiving Day meal. Extra points go to the person with the most Norman Rockwell-ish photo.
December 2014 – Winter Holidays: This could mean sending me photos of Christmas morning or other holiday traditional events. But I don’t want to miss out on any classic snow photos either. So if it’s a cool, old wintery photo, it’ll work.
January 2015 – Old Town: Even before we had the beautiful twinkly lights in Old Town in winter, we had the cool old buildings. Send in any photos you have of Old Town from before 1990 (whether the buildings were renovated or not). It’s OK if there are people in the photos. Feel free to tell us who they are. (The photos don’t have to be from winter-time. They just have to be of Old Town. If you have photos of downtown Loveland or Greeley, I can use those, too. Just make sure I know where the photo is from.)
February 2015 – Restaurants: In my family, we have lots of old photos as we pose around food in a restaurant. If you have any photos like that in local eateries, let us know who is in the photo, what restaurant you were in (and maybe where it was located), and what the occasion was (if you were celebrating something).
March 2015 – Pets: Annie isn’t the only beloved pet to have wagged her tail in Fort Collins. If you have a beloved pet from days of yore that you’d like to share with us, send us a photo along with the pet’s name, breed, and maybe a very short description of what made them special.
April 2015 – College Days: If you have photos from a College Days celebration, send them on in. If possible, list what the photo is of (the parade? a party? another event?) and what year it was taken. If you know the folks in the photo, please share their names.
May 2015 – Farm Life: Whether you lived on a farm growing up or only visited on occasion, if you have some old farm photos, we’d love to see them. Please include where the farm was (and who owned it, if you know) and the names of anyone in the photo (if you know).
June 2015 – Summer Holidays: Stick to photos taken in Northern Colorado, not trips elsewhere. We want to see how you spent your summer vacations.
July 2015 – Fourth of July Festivities: The 4th is one of our family’s favorite holidays in Fort Collins. We’ve built up lots of great memories on that holiday. We’d love to see some of your memories of the fourth in days past.
August 2015 – Playgrounds: Playgrounds have changed a lot over the years. If you have any old playground photos, now is the time to share them. When possible, please let us know where the playground used to be.
I have other ideas as well, photos in front of houses, photos that include old cars, photos from CSU days and plain old family photos. But we’ll hold off on including these other ideas until we see how these themes go.
I’ve told you what I want to do, but I haven’t told you yet why I think it’s important.
As I read through histories of Fort Collins, it seems like the “important” things have all been covered. Some stories have been written and rewritten ad naseum while other topics or people have at least been mentioned. What I’m hoping to do through these community contribution posts is to capture the stories of the “the rest of us.” I want to create a sort of photo book of the day-to-day life of normal ole’ Fort Collins residents over a period of time. (Granted they’ll be regular online posts, not a book. But if people like the idea, I could gather the pictures together at the end of the year – meaning next summer- into a book that people could pay a minimal fee to download a copy of.)
For now I’m planning on posting the photos that I’ve collected on the fourth Friday of every month. So start sending official school photos my way now to be posted on the 26th of September. (I’m not looking for first day of school pics. That might be a good theme for next year. For now lets go only with the photos taken by the school photographer of either an individual or I’ll take photos that the photographer does of the entire class as well, if you happen to have one of those.) If I get a truck load of photos, then I’ll take out some more Fridays and spread the wealth throughout the month. On other Fridays I will either continue to do some of our random newspaper posts or I will be adding some more Now and Then comparison posts (which are some of my favorites).
So let’s get started and see how this goes.