The Photo Organizers History
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Our Story

In 1840, Alexander Wolcott invented the first camera.

Human beings photograph what they care about. Our families, our traditions, and our celebrations are timeless, and this similarity crosses barriers of race, class, and geography. We are uniquely wired; these things are meaningful because we are human.

In 1888, Kodak created the first public photo lab. Their slogan was, "You press the button, we do the rest."

As photo organizers, we understand the enormous value of telling family stories with pictures and video. If you look at the first cameras, the first images, you’ll see a lot of the same moments we see captured today.

In 1900, George Eastman invented the Brownie, a camera meant for the everyday person. Price tag: $1

Our species fell in love with this art form. We’re able to see the faces, the clothing, and the culture of people from another time period because someone who was there had a camera. Photography quickly went from an art form for professionals to a popular activity for everyone. Soon after the Brownie came out, photography became a booming market: cameras and printed film sold like crazy. And just like TVs and VCRs have come and gone, photography has undergone a significant upheaval with recent technological advances, many of which were fast and unexpected.

In 1975, Steve Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak, invented the first digital camera.

Yet even with the advent of digital photography and the many different ways we can now capture images, some things haven’t changed at all. Humans still have the enormous desire to take pictures. We take them with our mobile phones, our cameras, our tablets. And we now have easy access to video for telling stories.
But the fast and furious technological changes have left consumers lost. They may have a bunch of printed photos from their grandparents, in boxes or in yellowing albums, plus a huge and disorganized collection of digital images. What is the best way to share and organize the photos, convert and migrate them, back them up and make them into something beautiful and accessible for future generations? And does anybody care enough about this to figure it out?

In 1999, Nikon introduced a two-megapixel cameras meant for consumers.

In 2003, Canon launched the Digital Rebel, the first affordable digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera.

The personal photo organizing profession emerged to answer those questions. We deliberately chose the name “Personal Photo Organizers” because this work we do with clients is deeply personal.

In 2007, Cathi Nelson had her lightbulb moment.

Cathi Nelson’s friend Maria offered to pay her to help make sense of her photo collection. Her friend said, “And I guarantee there are hundreds of other Marias out there who need this kind of help.” Cathi drove home and thought, “Wow! Could it true?” When she announced to her community that she was offering her services as a Photo Organizer, people lined up for help. She wondered if this could be even bigger than she had first imagined.

The Association of Personal Photo Organizers was incorporated in 2009.

Not only was Cathi’s business booming, but other people were asking her to teach them what she knew. She thought that creating a community of people doing this same work would not only accomplish the educational need, but would support the profession in other ways that would position it for growth.

APPO holds its first educational conference in Chicago in 2012.

Photo Organizers gathered from coast to coast to learn, connect, and collectively think about how they can better serve clients in turning photo chaos into beautiful stories.

In 2013, APPO is featured in a New York Times article.

Word is out and APPOs membership is bursting at the seams. Along with the prominent piece in the Times, Cathi Nelson is also interviewed for articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic and Better Homes and Gardens.

In 2017, APPO refreshes its brand.

With an exciting new look and a fresh new message, APPO is poised for exponential growth.

INFO-trends estimates that 1.4 trillion photographs will be taken in 2017… …and the Photo Organizers are ready!!!

We’re a community of Personal Photo Organizers who share a passion for telling people’s stories.

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