A week ago I wound up going through several photo albums that my family has. The ones I looked at were only the actual albums and the ones that were most accessible. I know there are more photos in other places. (I think the bulk of photos are in my parent's closet. They used to be, but I haven't asked about their whereabouts in years.)
I have no idea why certain photos are in albums that fill up exactly one shelf of a bookcase in the living room while everything else is in various other places. For some reason, that's just where they wound up. I wouldn't label them as the most important. They're important in their own way, of course, but my parent's have an entire album dedicated to my cousin's wedding there while the bulk of me and my siblings' baby photos are elsewhere. (I think we each have albums dedicated to us in babies in individual boxes for each of us full of various other baby stuff of ours, and I think those are actually stored up high in each of our own closets, but I also haven't looked for those in years.)
My reasons for searching through the photos was that I needed photos of one specific childhood friend of mine who I was helping make a birthday scrapbook for. I knew we had plenty of photos that had her in them, but I wasn't confident they would have wound up in the random selection I could easily access. (She had, for the record, and I found more than enough for the scrapbook. Not surprising looking back considering she remains my closest friend from elementary school.)
I hadn't been expecting to get sentimental when I got out the photos, but of course, I did. I'm too sentimental of a person to not go through each and every picture regardless of seeing that the friend wasn't in those particular photos. That wasn't unusual as I get like that every time I look at photos, but this was the first time I had ever bothered to think about the arbitrariness of the particular photos chosen for this shelf. I think it came about because I was looking for a specific person, and many of the albums were so random within themselves that I didn't know what I would find on any particular page.
That made me realize how scrambled and scattered my family's pictures are. If I want photos of one particular thing, I'd have no idea where to look unless the photo wound up framed. Event specific photos are limited to our baby albums, a couple wedding albums (my parents and for some reason the one cousin), and a few vacation albums that are actually only about half a specific vacation and half random other photos.
Needless to say, my family wasn't one to carefully put together albums and organize every single picture we took. I think it's kind of nice in a way. Not if I want to find something specific, but it does add a nice feeling to randomly flipping through photos. I wind up seeing the most random of things that I forgot happened. It's like a game of chance, and I never know which memories I'll stumble upon. In a way, I prefer it to neatly organized photos.
Even if I would love to be able to find specific pictures from time to time.