Missionary Slides - Gerry Knight

Photographs and slides have been a mainstay of presentations of Angolan missionaries for a generation. They preserve images of their lives and those of the early church at work. Portraits of individuals, group photos, and portrayals of rural life in Angola are useful markers of people at a place and time in history. Much of that overall picture changed with the vicissitudes of civil war.  Institutions crumbled, people were displaced and many lost all their possessions, including their family photos. The significance of making these slide and photo collections available to both the institutions and individuals of that generation and the next, is self-evident.

Today’s scanners and computers together with the internet, allow one to store and share entire slide collections, be sent electronically across space, and be available to any viewer with a computer via a file copy (memory card, flash drive, CD, etc) or internet access.  One main problem I have encountered is that many slides and photos do not have inscriptions on them, making it difficult to identify people, buildings, occasions, or simply time and place.  A second problem is that if the original photo is out of focus or under- or over-exposed, options to improve its quality are limited and its value for posting is questionable. Scanning of negatives, photos, and slides can be performed using a home scanner or be paid for by professional service. Cleaning up scratches and dust and adjusting for color, light, contrast, dpi settings and more are part of this process. There are many directives for doing this the right way, and I am still learning how to produce a satisfactory end-product. From the computer hard drive, photos are uploaded to the website, captions are added and galleries or sub-albums are organized into suitable themes such as Mission Stations, Missionaries, Notables, Rural Schools, Rural Life, Scenery, etc. 

While I began uploading digitized personal photos to a Photobucket website years ago, and the Knight-Bridgman-Snow slide collections more recently, current services from that site have become inadequate for our needs. The switch to SmugMug.com as advised by Paul Blake has been ideal. Paul’s account at paulblake.smugmug.com holds a brilliant growing dedicated library of the United Methodist history in Angola. A similar vision might work for hosting photos of the United Church history in Angola.

Click  HERE for the Knight, Bridgman/Radley, and Snow collection of images.