- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Everybody has those pictures,  the ones in the shoebox or the old album. You pick one out and say - "That's Dad and that must be Uncle George....I don't know who the girl is but it sure isn't Mom!"

Aaron Mader has made it his mission to see that the story your family photos tell is not lost to future

His Memory Project would collect and scan all your photos and slides, then import them into digital albums. The information will be backed up in Superman's Fortress of Solitude, or wherever it is these clouds and servers exist, but the original photos and papers are never damaged or lost.

Then the real magic begins, because this is much more than a digital shoebox. "If I do my job well," says Aaron, "All of those photos – potentially a huge volume of information – will be completely searchable and cross-referenced under any number of categories."

Aaron is a self-described "nerdy guy", who learned the skill and language of programming and started working in the field for a small company. He began to build and apply new technologies to a growing interest in his own family history inspired by audio tapes his father had made as a young man.

Many of us can identify with 8-year-old-Aaron's experience of being "bored out of my tree" by his grandmother's slideshow of family pictures. But now he would give anything to see those slides and ask her about the people in them.

album"What if...," Aaron thought, "We could record a commentary and combine the best nuggets from the slides and photos with the voice of the person whose memories are captured in those images?" It can be done.

It may cross your mind from time to time -  "How will I be remembered?" This would be your chance to tell your own illustrated version of your story.

Aaron and I talked about what I call the "empathy deficit" around us, and that knowing each others' stories was one of the best cures. Once you realize that everyone around you has a story as rich as yours, it will become increasingly difficult to see aaronclarkthem as "the other". Now technology allows our stories to be collected and shared in authentic voices and images.

Aaron and his partner have a one-year old son, and we both agreed that there is nothing like a baby to put the past and future into focus. His goal is to work on The Memories Project full time – using continually evolving technologies to remove the barriers of time between the generations.

The Memories Project is still a work in progress, as Aaron is participating in the Starter Company Plus Program through the local Business Enterprise Centre. For now his prices reflect the building phase of the business. If you think you might be interested in taking this journey with him, I believe you'll be richer for it.

You can reach Aaron Mader and The Memories Project at [email protected] and 226-909-2217.

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