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On this Day in History – A Photo Project

Screenshot of my Flickr album
I finished my one-year photograph project entitled On This Day in History today. The idea came to me when I couldn’t find any way in Lightroom of viewing all pictures taken on the same date but in different years.


Screenshot of Lightroom tagsI have a Lightroom catalog going back to 2002, when I got my first digital camera. I rely heavily on Lightroom and have done since it first came out. Amongst all my tags, the most useful ones have been people, places and events, and I’ve used Lightroom to create date folders within year folders. So, how did I do my On This Day tagging? I created a top-level folder into which I put 12 more folders, one for each month of the year. Inside each month folder, I created tags for ddmm, so 10 May would be 1005.


Now that I had my tagging system set up, I spent some time each day going through my photos for that day’s date in each year, picking out my favourite images for that date and tagging them with the ddmm tag. I processed the pictures with Lightroom mostly, but for the more recent shots taken on my Nikon, sometimes I’d dip into some of the Nik plugins such as Silver Efex or Color Efex. I then gave them a title and wrote a short description and added them to the map in Lightroom, a feature of the software that I’ve really come to enjoy. And finally I set them up for publishing to Flickr with Jeffrey Friedl’s fantastic Export to Flickr plugin.

As I got adept at the process, it was something I really got to look forward to each day and I’d usually have a few days set up in advance. I’d start each day by going straight to the computer and publishing that day’s pictures.

My photos had been sitting on my computer for years, but they had become like the printed photos in shoeboxes, or albums on shelves; rarely did I look at them. So the project was fantastic on an emotional level and now I have a year-long archive of my favourite photos processed, dated, tagged, mapped and, perhaps most importably as all, published. I can now go into my Flickr stream or Lightroom and select pictures all taken on the same date across the years. Since I started the project, I’ve been tagging all my photos with that day’s ddmm tag at the point of import so they’re all done going forward.


I have my AppleTV set up to show my Flickr stream as a screen saver so we have yet another way to enjoy our old pictures and it’s one that the whole family can enjoy. My son (b. 2006) and daughter (b. 2004) both really enjoy seeing pictures of themselves coming up at all ages!


Since I was getting so much value out of this project, I also did the same with my journal entries in DayOne. They go back somewhat further than my photos though. My first diary entry is in 1985!

My OTD album is here on Flickr: On This Day in History