by Larry Peery

Now that the International Diplomacy Hall of Fame (IDHOF) has been revitalized, perhaps it is time to consider doing something similar with another of the hobby’s institutions, the FOTOBANK. Like the IDHOF the FOTOBANK dates back to the early 1980s during one of my earlier creative periods. And, again like the IDHOF it didn’t get very far off the ground because, frankly, nobody much cared about it and at that time we (the hobby) all thought we were immortal anyway. Times do change and so do people. So, at a time when more and more of us are coming to realize that we are indeed very mortal, the revitalization of the FOTOBANK is perhaps an idea worth considering.

In addition, changes in the hobby and modern technology make it possible to do things relatively easily that we could only dream of thirty years ago. So, let’s at least consider the idea.

This New Year’s Eve morning I received a delightful email from hobby Old Fart Doug Beyerlein containing a collection of jpeg. Files containing pictures, photos or fotos (depending your age) that he took in the 1970s-1990s at various Diplomacy events, including the 1971 DIPCON that Rod Walker and I hosted in San Diego and the even more important 1972 DIPCON that Len Lakofka hosted in Chicago that marked the true beginning of DIPCON featuring Allan B. Calhamer’s first public appearance at a Diplomacy event. Although I’ve seen these pictures before seeing them again now reminded me, again, of how quickly time is marching on. Don't worry, I'm sure Doug's photos will be seen in upcoming issues of TDP and DW; and on the IDHOF web site eventually.

Just a few weeks ago I came across a box out on the patio that contained some small, four inch by four inch photos, from the 1984 Olympics PeeriCon event; and I again realized how much the hobby and we, the people who comprise it, have changed in the last thirty years. Today, of course, we have all kinds of possibilities with computer, internet, photo shop and other photo processing programs, Facebook and other social media to preserve, protect and enjoy our images from the past, present and future.

We can do that if we want to. The question, of course, is do we want to? I hope so.

Simply put the idea of the FOTOBANK was to create a permanent, useable library of photographs or other graphic images for the hobby of people, places, things, and events that comprise our history — in other words, a visual archive of the hobby.

To do this, then and now, requires several things: 1) the images. Thirty years ago that meant photo prints or negatives. Today it means those as well as jpeg files, videos, etc. 2) the information to go with them such as names of people in the images, dates, locations, etc. Seems easy enough today but in ten years when somebody is trying to make sense of them it won’t be. 3) a person(s) willing to do the work who has the hobby interest and technical computer and digital (or photographic) skills to make it happen. Finding that person or better yet persons must be our chief priority; and while we’re doing that we need to start collecting paper image prints, negatives, and digital files; and labeling them for future use. Oh, and did I mention a web site to put them on?

This isn’t a short range goal and it won’t be easy, but I think it can be done. The question, as I noted, is do we want to do it and who will take the lead?

Larry Peery

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