Have you ever noticed how photos from family vacations, a birthday party or even just hanging out in the backyard have the tendency to transport you back in time? They bring that experience, maybe buried in the back of your mind, to the forefront? They are like colourful time capsules opening up a story.
Even the memories that aren’t the ones you lived are great to explore, perhaps some of my favourite. Looking at old photographs of my Father-in-Law after he passed away, photos taken of him in his youth, or old slides hiding in the back of my mother’s closet, is an opportunity to live these memories through someone else’s stories.
As a child I could always count on one night being entertained by old family videos and slides when visiting my mom’s parents. My mom’s collection of slides always included images from her childhood at a relative’s cottage and family holidays when my mom and her siblings were young. There were slides of her early days in the Navy and her wedding. There were even a few slides from my own early childhood days. Sitting on the back deck, slide projector sharing these moments on the wall, I loved hearing the stories and seeing the joy from these memories being shared again.
But now these slides sit in a box in the back of my mother’s closet. Slides I haven’t seen in years and ones my husband and kids have never seen. The BLACKS Shoebox Service enables you to bring back some of those forgotten or old memories that are worth sharing.
If you’ve never heard of the Shoebox Service, it’s designed to bring new life to old images by scanning them into digital form, whether that’s photographs, slides or even negatives. There are three levels of Shoebox Service depending on your needs: Classic, Gold, or Platinum. They all include scanning your originals and putting them on a USB drive but the Gold and Platinum versions include extras like a proof book of al the scanned images or a coffee table style photo book to put on display.
Thinking of my mom’s slides, I wanted to hear these stories again, have my mom share them with my kids and see their grandmother smile as the memories resurface. I decided to surprise her by having her slides scanned as part of BLACKS Shoebox service.
I opted for the Platinum version, as I liked the added feature of both a proof book of the images scanned as well as a nicer coffee table photo book she could display for guests and the kids. You can do the service at your local BLACKS store but I opted to do it online. After I placed my order, a package was sent to me via FedEx a few days later. It included a detailed order form as well as the packing material for the media I was sending. The box was rather large for sending slides so I ended up putting them in Ziploc bags to keep them in order. Hopefully BLACKS will include slide boxes with future orders to make things easier.
Important: If you are sending slides make sure they are 35mm (135 slides) mounted slides only. My mother’s collection included a number of 126 slides that at first glance look a lot like the 35mm version. These cannot be scanned as part of this service. You don’t want to find out AFTER you’ve sent your order in so double check. I found this article from HowToScan really helpful when it came to slides. The same is true with the photograph and negative specs. Make sure to verify the quantity and the format before going through all the work of sorting images.
Once I had sorted out which slides I wanted to include and placed them in order, I packaged everything in the provided box, including the order form, and adhered the shipping label. I called the number provided to arrange pick-up. Then you wait, about 4 to 6 weeks. I almost forgot about my order until this arrived:
Inside you’ll find your originals plus a USB stick with all the images scanned (both original as well as colour corrected images if you select that feature). With my Platinum order I also had a softcover proof book of all the images scanned plus a hardcover photo book. I love that the whole box is packaged so I can present it to my mom as a gift (versus just having the random items in a brown box). It’s the little things that make a difference.
I think I’m going to keep the proof book at my house for the kids to look at since my mom will have the photo book. The digital images on USB mean my mom can now share some of these images with family via email or through photo gifts. How lovely would it be to share with her siblings a photo calendar with a collection of images from their childhood?
My kids have enjoyed looking at photos of their aunt and I as toddlers as well as their grandmother in her teen years. Sometimes we get caught up in the people as we know them now but they did play hopscotch or go out to the movies with boys. I can’t wait to give my mom her Platinum Shoebox from BLACKS. Even more, I can’t wait to see her share these photos and their associated memories with my kids.
The BLACKS Shoebox Service will give my kids a opportunity to discover a bit of their family history, bringing it to life in images and stories. It will be almost like those slide viewing nights I remember so fondly still from my own childhood.
If you have stacks of photos from your early days before kids or maybe a collection of slides and negatives from past adventures, BLACKS Shoebox Service can help you bring them back to life. Isn’t that why we take these photos, to relive those moments?
BLACKS provided me with their Shoebox Platinum service to facilitate this review but the thoughts and experiences are all mine.