In a dark corner of a linen closet in my family home, there sits three boxes of family photos. Photos of my mother, age twenty-five, with big kinky hair and thick blue eyeshadow, or photos of my father, age thirty, a spitting image of John Travolta in his character of Danny Zuko in Greese.
There’s even a photo of me on my sixth birthday. I’m wearing a green patterned dress and a pageboy haircut. I’m on the kitchen floor of my old house, and my eyes are red from crying. Between my sprawled legs sits my bunny-shaped birthday cake, just moments before it’s about to be cut, served, and eaten. You see, I’d forged a friendship with this bunny cake from the moment I’d peaked into his cardboard box the day prior. I was protective of my new friend, and horrified at the fact that he’d be consumed.
“Don’t worry,” my mother told me, “we’ll take pictures of the cake and you can remember the bunny forever.” I didn’t believe her. Back then, cameras weren’t digital, so I couldn’t see the picture right away. Instead, I had to trust that the film would be developed, along with the memory of my now dissected birthday cake. A week later, the photo turned out, but needless to say, I never ate a bite of that cake.
Today, when we share photos with friends and families, it’s usually done through social media sites like Facebook and Flicker. Images can be instantly captured on digital cameras and shared across the world. What’s more, social media preserve our memories online, replacing the photo boxes from our linen closets with a globally accessible online albums. But what about those old photos that were captured before the digital renaissance?
PeggyBank is a new photo-sharing software that converts “legacy media” (meaning home movies, photos, slides and negatives) into digital content that can be shared via social media platforms. The primary market is people like my parents – fifty-year-olds who were raised (and raised children) before the internet boom. These people may or may not have Facebook accounts, and if they do, their lives have not been uploaded onto Facebook like mine has.
PeggyBank is the brainchild of e-commerce veteran Jim Simon. After his father died, Simon found himself sorting through boxes of photos and film, media that outdates today’s technology. Think about it: where would you take a negative of film from the ’90s to be developed today? Simon wanted to digitize the content to make the memories of his father easily accessible to relatives and friends across the world.
Simons worked alongside Marcia Kapustin and Adam Zweiback to create PeggyBank. Kapustin is a video production specialist whose produced videos for big names like Paul McCartney and Bon Jovi, and Zweiback is the founder of a test-prep company for students called A to Z Educational Consulting.
“Most families are similar to ours,” says Simon. “They have boxes and boxes of old photos and home videos that have become irrelevant over time due to changes in technology. With PeggyBank, not only do we help preserve the memories, we make them sharable in a way that was never before possible. It is not unusual for our clients to literally have tears of joy when they see the finished product.”
Here’s how it works: PeggyBank converts legacy material into digital format. Once the data has been transformed, it is given a PeggyVault, a free, secure account where the new media is permanently stored. The vault is available for sharing, but only for selected users. The company claims that the secure account is what differentiates PeggyBank from other sites that allow the sharing of digital media.