Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Digital Reproductions of Small Children

My side of the family tends to be especially sentimental about childhood memories. My mom did the usual keepsake thing -- artwork, report cards, toys, shoes, clothes, silver spoon, silver cup, teeth, hair, skin -- but we're really photo obsessed. My brother and I seem to reminisce about the golden days of lives by pouring over our scrapbooks / baby books (remember when the tree house fell down? remember when you had poison oak rash on your birthday? remember when it snowed in Tarzana? and we get out the books) nearly every time I visit LA. I suppose that's pretty normal - we're an image obsessed culture. Danny's family doesn't have the same interest in photographic evidence; they also write captions and dates on top of prints.

The other day as I was telling Elliot a good night story, he wanted to see what I looked like as a kid. I'm such a sucker. I got out the books and we looked at photos for nearly an hour. He asked about mary ann and he thought she looked nice. I've told Elliot many stories about my dad whom he never met, and when he saw his picture he said, "Your dad looks like an architect. He looks like he thinks about space and science and stuff."

Digital Cameras + Photo Books
Since my manual camera broke I haven't taken many pictures of the kids. I'm robbing Asher of his future childhood nostalgia. It doesn't look like I'll come close to achieving the vast library of family photographs that my mother created. My digital photos, just don't come close to being as good as the photos I take on film. Apparently we need a $1000 digital camera to get decent pictures. But Elliot has been using our digital camera lately and he's taking some surprisingly good pictures. From his short perspective he's taken some striking documentary / character studies of his family members in various disgruntled or contemplative states. I'd love to upload them, but they stay on my camera with the rest of asher's childhood. We need a digital film service apparently.

I've been researching digital coffee table photo books lately and I found this review on slate of photo book services:

Top 3 photo book creation sites according to slate:
1. Shutterfly (national geographic quality)

2. Photoworks (very high quality book, but labor intensive)

3. Kodak Easyshare (I have a coworker who raved about it, challenging UI)

Coffee Table Quality Photo Books Review on Slate

Rated on the following criteria:

Print quality (10 possible points): Are the images crisp? Grainy? I uploaded a variety of photographs, from close-ups to wide-angle outdoor shots. I also used different cameras: I took most with my 5-megapixel Sony, but I snapped some with a low-quality, old, 2-megapixel Kodak.

Cover quality (10 possible points): Is it pretty to look at it? Is it made from high-quality material? I designed the books to look like baby albums, choosing white covers over black and linen over leather when available.

Web site/software (10 possible points): All the Web sites promised that the books were easy to make. They lied. The simplest site required two hours of pointing and clicking. Some books took as long as four hours to create. So, I rated the services on ease of use. Can you upload multiple photos? Or does each picture have to be transferred individually? I also rated the sites on their production software. Some allow users to place photos anywhere on the page while others require captions or have restrictive templates. I also penalized sites that were not Mac-compatible.

Service (10 possible points): Did the book arrive on time? Could I call someone if I had problems? Could I return it?

Technorati tags: photo, photos, photography, family

1 comment:

Blue Fairy said...

Hi! We've slowed down in the photo department a little too. But my photos yesterday were part of a corrective plan and guess what, they were taken on an old digital camera with no zoom! We took them in the woods near our house in Luxembourg. Thanks for your comments on my blog. As for the anti-depressants, the need has passed thank god!although i could go for some of those vivid dreams!