Tips + Tricks

Crowdsourcing Stories in Pictures

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a family picture is worth 10,000 stories.

Family pictures, like the family table, can be awkward affairs, but they speak volumes to the heart. The technology that brought us photographs has been around now for 200 years, but we’ve not had a useful way to connect stories to them at scale.

Brush painting, Ohara Donshu, Japanese, died 1857, Blind Men Appraising an Elephant, Photo: Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum, 1993.57_IMLS_SL2.jpg
Ohara Donshu, Japanese, died 1857, Blind Men Appraising an Elephant, Photo: Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum, 1993.57_IMLS_SL2.jpg

Like the parable of the blind men and the elephant, everyone remembers things a little differently. We were all there, but we focused on very different details. Now when faced with a photograph that captured one instant from one vantage point, it can trigger memories from the larger circle. How we experienced it may become part of our individual memories. Told together, they paint a portrait that becomes part of the collective memory of a family.

Portrait of the collective memory

Family photographs, particularly old photographs are typically a legacy shared across generations. The originals may be treasured as artifacts, but if they aren’t digitized and their stories shared across generations, they quietly become disconnected and impersonal.

Modern high-resolution cameras and scanning tools create an opportunity to bring these images back to life so that they can become touchstones to stories across generations. When you’ve taken the time to (and perhaps expense) to scan piles of images, consider sharing the project across generations by asking family to help contribute what they remember. It’s a little like crowd-sourcing. Reach out and ask what people remember and can contribute to the story.

Ponga membership set up a little like a potluck family picnic. Our members with paid accounts, reserve the picnic table, bring all the place settings, then invite the rest of the family to contribute with their favorite dishes. As a member, the family you invite to contribute to your pictures on Ponga are your guests. Feel free to take a look around at Ponga.com.


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