Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More than just Photos

I'm a crazy, uptight record-keeper. I really am.

I say this, because I have records of everything. I keep virtually every newspaper I read or recieve and archive it in my bedroom closet.

A closet is normally used for clothing. Mine is used for the storage of old bamboo curtains, inspiration books I sniped from my old babysitter when I was twelve, a Denmark tin cookie container I used as a pencilcase during my formative years of high school, and stacks of newspapers. And some clothing. If you think that instead of a closet I use drawers for clothing, you're wrong. Instead, one drawer has all of my loose drawings I've ever done, both old and new, and almost completely wrecked. Another has all of my printed photos I've ever put to paper.

The third has anything I've deemed as a "document." That is, anything with words or text on them, from old report cards to stories I wrote, articles, journals, old school binder contents, etc., etc. Some stuff is over ten years old.

I'm just a crazy record keeper.

The top drawer holds socks by the way.

Thing is, while I said earler that I take many photos all the time everywhere, and manage to capture things or people more than once in them over time, it's the same for drawings, text, informative sources, even voice recordings. I once had a co-op placement with the Barrhaven Independent (of which I archive in my bedroom closet as well). Every voice-recorded interview with Merivale students and staff, I have stored on my computer. Many I have transcribed into word documents. And don't think they're going anywhere. Both on the computer and physically, I am a one-man operated Justin Campbell/Merivale High School, 2005-2009/Nepean/Ottawa/Barrhaven/Newspaper Archive. You could take a photo I took of me and have one for every month for several years. Video, too. Christ, throughout 2008 I filmed a heck of a lot of material at school, out the bus window during my commutes, almost everywhere, to cater to my interest of fast-forwarding the result and creating time-lapse videos. And for the purpose of record-keeping, of course. Look on my computer and find a thirty-minute video of a bus ride down Merivale Road and through Barrhaven I took on the way home from school in May of 2007 - just to time-lapse the footage into fifteen seconds. Zoom! I have two external storage devices - one 250gig and a 500gig - and one's already full. Each has one Photo, Word, Video, and Multimedia archive going back to 2006 and on to today. You just wouldn't believe the media archival mogul I am.

Here's a great example: A fake newsletter I wrote eight years ago, when I was 10 years old.

This works for people, too. People around me of course. For instance, say you wanted any media-related information on someone who went to school with me at some point. I can find them in photos I took. I could then figure out a pattern - as in, if they were in photos of events I took photos of, then I could deduce they were potentially in student council. Or if they were in a photo taken at a particular place more than once, then I could say they hung out there. Then I'd know which photos to look for. If I interviewed them for the paper, I'd have their voice recording. I have everything. I may even have video, old or new. Video of which I used to time-lapse (but of course I always keep the original video so you wouldn't have to worry about seeing them for a split second because it's moving so fast). Hey. I even have a bloody newspaper article in the Nepean This Week I archived years ago written by a past school-president.

Don't get the wrong idea that I do this to keep tabs on people. I'm not a private investigator. People or places that show up in my files show up due to pure coincedence. Anyone can take photos of a street or shoot a video to speed up in a public place. The thing I like about this, the whole thing I like about keeping records, is that everything changes. I have things before and after. I have myself and almost anyone around me basically growing up in all the photos they've appeared in that I've taken. The historical aspect is the huge thing about it that appeals to me, and that's why I keep these records. Often, when I go camping in the same place, I'll even re-enact a few photos so that I have a photo of the same thing a year later, and can see the differences.

I intend on keeping all this stuff going. When I'm eighty I can look on my computer (if they're still big enough to operate, things get smaller all the time) and look at high-quality, color photos of myself when I was 16, photos of old friends, a video of my old bus route before Merivale Road was turned into a super expressway, articles of political arguments and debate over when the new bridge would be built, and even a voice recording of a long passed away teacher I interviewed for the paper, so I can remember the sound of their voice. I know that part sounds very odd or creepy but it's all part of that historical aspect. I never get rid of anything.

So I am what I am. Your neighborhood archivist who has material on virtually everything. It may sound weird or even suspicious - but come on! I like to keep records! The historical aspect is so cool!

-Justin C.

PS - I actually even have historical photos before I was born. Like an aerial photo of Meadowlands Drive in 1978, or photos of Merivale High School being constructed. Local history is just one of my really big interests, hence my own archiving tendancies.

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