Blogging School History
Bloggers struggling with writer’s block are searching for a grand idea that will inspire readers. One trick to getting unstuck is utilizing images of school life–past and present. Archival images allow us to place present realities in the context of history…your school’s history. An overriding theme might be, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This messaging entertains the entire community while emotionally engaging alumni who want to know that the school retains traditions while evolving and growing.
Digital archives are a godsend for blogging on topics touching on school history, but I have a simple trick when images have not yet been scanned (as is the case with our yearbooks.) I take photographs of photographs! I mount my camera on a tripod and point it down at a yearbook that is propped up at a square angle to the lens and use the zoom to fill the image field with the desired picture. I do this in a north-facing window. Defeat the flash and use the self-timer mode at–say–five second delay to eliminate vibration.
A surprise advantage of this low-tech approach to mining old images is that you can improve the quality of the photograph in your image editor. After cropping, click gray scale to eliminate ambient colors and try enhancing contrast and sharpen.
Reflecting on the historic foundations of your school’s programs and traditions is educational and entertaining. It also stimulates emotion among your most generous constituents, alumni/ae!