I seriously got into taking pictures or photos using slide films, mainly Ektachrome, starting 1976 when I started my general surgery residency training program in the Philippine General Hospital.
I was mainly influenced by my late mentor, Dr. George Eufemio, who had a vast collection of photo slides which he would use for lectures, teaching, research and other documentary purposes. See samples of Dr. George Eufemio’s slides. Notice he would put notes on the frame of the slides to tell what the slides were all about. (I also did the same, and further, I cataloqued them.)
I bought several Pentax cameras using my hard-earned training stipend (about P700 per month). I took photo slides during my entire 5 years of surgical training program. In all rotations in the different surgical subspecialties, like Head and Neck, Breast, Colorectal, Hepatobiliary, Plastic, Pediatric, Urology, Neurosurgery, Thoracovascular Surgery, I took pictures of interesting, unusual cases and cases for lectures and research purposes. I also made word slides initially using Kodalith (black and white) for my lectures. All in all, my estimate is that I had a collection of about 10,000 slides.
After residency, I continued to take pictures of interesting and unusual cases and those that I need for teaching and research. I was doing this when I was consultant at the Philippine General Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, Medical Center Manila, and Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center.
I probably stopped using pictures circa 2006 when digital cameras were already in vogue. I just relied on the digital cameras of my residents for the pictures. In 2011, my sister gave me a digital camera and I resumed my picture taking of medical cases. Up to the present, I am still taking pictures using compact cameras and not cellphone cameras which started circa 2008.
All in all, when I was doing my clutter management, trying to digitalize all my analogue slides, my estimate is that I had a collection of about 20,000.
I decided not to digitalize all the 20,000 analogue slides as I would be consuming a lot of time probably 2 months or more. I decided on selective digitalization, those which I had sentimental values and those which I think are significant for my educational memoirs. I know for a fact that Dr. George Eufemio after retirement was also trying to make his collection of his slides as memoirs – trying to preserve all and categorized them. However, he did not complete his plans as his collection was able huge.
My justifications for not digitalizing all, aside from the time constraint, are one, there are already plenty of medical pictures in the Internet that one can see and use. Second, I do not think, anybody, including my son, who will be training to be a surgeon in the future, will spend time going through all the 20,000 slides. Thus, I decided to be selective, getting representative pictures (for example, representative pictures of the pectoralis major myocutaneous flaps that I had been doing before; representative pictures of the cases that we were seeing the emergency room of PGH – dart wounds, harpoons, etc.; representative pictures of other flaps; representative pictures of breast and thyroid pathologies; etc.). I did not digitalize all the 20,000 slides. I digitalized only those which are of sentimental values to me.
With this experience in clutter management of photo slides, especially medical ones, here are my thoughts, perceptions, opinions and recommendations:
- After taking pictures, this time, digital already, as soon as possible, select which ones to discard which ones to keep. If you don’t do this, your pictures will pile up to the point it will be hard to manage or to do clutter management. Discard blurred pictures, triplicates (just duplicates at the minimum), and pictures which do not have clear message content. Keep those which you think are important – create your own criteria – example, for lecture, for research, unusual cases, etc.
- Label and categorize them into folders.
- If possible, make a slide show or presentation. Post them in Slideshare or Google Photos or even Facebook. Decide on the privacy setting. Keep a digital back-up in your computer or external hard drive.
- Make your pictures useful. Use them to teach. Share your pictures to the public or to interested people. Recommendation: at least once in the lifetime of the pictures.
Clutter Management of ROJoson’s Photo Slides
I had my old analogue slides in plastic jackets and suture boxes.
My estimate: 20,000 old analogue slides.
After selective digitalization, I discarded them.
Sorting and categorization (classification) of yesteryears (dated back to 1976) – using suture boxes.
Sorting and categorization (classification) of yesteryears (dated back to 1976) – using plastic jackets.
How I labelled and cataloqued my slides of yesteryears (with data – name, age, sex, date, tag, number, etc.)
Samples of Dr. George Eufemio’s slides of yesteryears.
About 20,000 slides of yesteryears discarded.
Goodbye! Fond memories. Memories of my experiences as a surgical resident and as a consultant. Will miss you!