Monday, December 26, 2016


Donald Judd, Artist, Revealed as a Philosopher-Critic by His Children

Art & Design

Donald Judd, Artist, Revealed as a Philosopher-Critic by His Children

Rainer and Flavin Judd, Donald Judd’s children, who oversee his legacy and who have ensured that his writings reach a wider audience. Credit George Etheredge for The New York Times
The sculptor Donald Judd, one of the most important artists of the mid20th century, declared that he took up writing in the early 1960s purely as a “mercenary,” to earn money as a critic in his spare time. The statement was about as sincere as the oft-cited one of the novelist John Cheever — that literature is not a competitive sport. Both men might have wanted, or needed, to believe their pronouncements, but they knew they weren’t exactly true.
For Judd, who died in 1994, the overwhelming confirmation has arrived in the form of a new collection of his writings, the first to cover the entire prolific sweep of his output, much of it never before collected or published, a dense volume that one critic has described as resembling a “brick and a bible.” At more than 800 pages of essays, reviews and uncompromising observations about art, history and subjects as particular as Dallas (“very disagreeable”) and psychology (“the astrology of the mind”), the book, “Donald Judd Writings,” is aimed at adding Judd’s singularly contrarian voice not just to the list of great artist-writers but also to the canon of American literature.
Widely known, and sometimes reviled, for his critical writing about the art of the 1960s, Judd could be as damningly final in his judgments as he was rigorously clear in his descriptions of work. A piece by Anselm Kiefer, he once wrote, was “one of the worst paintings I’ve ever seen in all respects.”
The task of shepherding his many words into print was not simple. Judd — who will be the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in the next few years that will explore his role as a pioneer of Minimalism, a term he derided as woefully simplistic — did not type, for one thing. Throughout his life, he was known for the yellow legal pads always within his reach, a body of longhand writing that came, along with other manuscripts, to fill 30 boxes.
Continue reading the main story

Over a period of months, his son, Flavin, who was 25 when his father died and now oversees his legacy along with his sister, Rainer Judd, became in a sense his father’s translator, deciphering Judd’s serpentine handwriting, reading some of it for the first time. In the process, he said, he felt as if he had been able to spend time once again in the presence of Judd, a famously domineering man, though one who had a close relationship with his two children after his divorce from their mother, the dancer Julie Finch.
The sculptor Donald Judd in 1982 at La Mansana de Chinati, a.k.a. the Block, in Marfa, Tex., where he established permanent installations of his work. Credit Jamie Dearing/Courtesy Judd Foundation
“Rainer and I were the only people who could argue with him,” said Mr. Judd, now 48, in a recent interview at 101 Spring Street, the cast-iron SoHo building that Judd bought in the late 1960s and which has been preserved as a museum. “We could talk with him in a way that employees and girlfriends really couldn’t.”
Of the time spent putting the book together, he said: “It was beautiful. It’s about as close as you can get to someone again when you’re with what they wrote.”
Judd lived with his children between New York and Marfa, Tex., the small high-desert town where he established permanent installations of his work, in part to get as far away from the art establishment as possible.
His considerable reputation as a writer rested mostly on a collection that came to be called “the yellow book,” for its cover, but it contained writing only up to 1975 and became hard to find. His son, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Michèle, a psychoanalyst, and their three children, said his father never spoke about what he wanted done with the mass of unpublished notes. But Mr. Judd said he had always been on the side of publishing, as Max Brod was in ignoring his friend Franz Kafka’s request to burn his papers.
“Basically, after you die,” Mr. Judd said, “it’s not yours anymore.”
The book, which Mr. Judd edited with Caitlin Murray, archivist for the Judd Foundation, shows Judd much more fully than ever before in all his ranges — philosophical, furious, dryly funny and oracular. It also shows him as a deeply read student of history who tended to believe Western culture hadn’t yet emerged from the Middle Ages and that, more than people cared to acknowledge, violence, oppression and ignorance continued to be societal defaults.
“Even a year ago, some of that seemed paranoid and a little far-fetched,” Mr. Judd said. “But now, you know, really not at all.” (In February of 1991, during the gulf war, Judd wrote: “The circumlocutions of liberalism went so far as to become the statements of fascism. Both met.” A year earlier, about the citizens of modern societies, he observed: “… you are free, indigenous and important, but for your protection your life is completely monitored.”)
An example of Donald Judd’s longhand writing (he didn’t type) from 1959, concerning James Brooks’s 1957 work “Ainlee.” Credit Judd Foundation Archives
David Raskin, a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the author of a 2010 monograph about Judd’s work, said he saw Judd, who studied philosophy at Columbia University, as an heir of American thinkers like Charles Sanders Peirce, whose essay “How to Make Our Ideas Clear” was a founding document of pragmatism. “Judd wrote to figure out what he believed in,” Mr. Raskin said, adding, “He really paved the way for later artists who wanted to get their ideas out through writing.”
Mr. Judd, an open, funny, friendly man with something of his father’s look, though leaner and without Judd’s ever-present beard, said he hoped the book, published by the Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books, would deepen understanding about Judd beyond clichéd views of his boxy, industrially canted work as cold and reductive. “This is more than just an artist writing about his work,” he said. “It’s an artist writing about how you should think about how you live.”
Rainer Judd, a president of the Judd Foundation along with her brother, added in an interview: “I guess I feel a little bit bad that readers don’t get Don along with these writings, because the guy had such a sparkle, like a twinkle in his eye, and it so balanced out the fervor and aggression that could be in his language.” (Rainer was named for the dancer Yvonne Rainer and Flavin for the artist Dan Flavin, friends of their parents.)
Mr. Judd, who also studied philosophy and was interested in filmmaking and architecture, said that before his father’s death, he had felt that he would probably spend a good deal of his adult life working for his father in some form or fashion. “So I guess, in a weird way, what would have happened, happened in the end anyway,” he said. “Just without him around.”

Make Room for the Hygge Hordes


Credit Marc Rosenthal
As soothing as a video of a basket of baby sloths, and borne on a raft of lifestyle books, hygge is headed for your living room.
Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah, like a football cheer in a Scandinavian accent) is the Danish word for cozy. It is also a national manifesto, nay, an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, fuzzy knitted socks, porridge, coffee, cake and other people. But no strangers, as the Danes, apparently, are rather shy. Hygge is already such a thing in Britain that the Collins Dictionary proclaimed it one of the top 10 words of 2016, along with Brexit and Trumpism.
Denmark frequently tops lists of the happiest countries in the world, in surveys conducted by the United Nations, among other organizations, consistently beating its Scandinavian cousins, Sweden and Norway — as well as the United States, which hovers around 13th place. While all three Nordic countries share happiness boosters like small populations and the attendant boons of a welfare state (free education, subsidized child care and other generous social supports), what distinguishes Denmark is its quest for hygge.
At least, that is the conclusion of Meik Wiking, the founder and chief executive of the Happiness Institute, a think tank based in Copenhagen dedicated to exploring why some societies are happier than others.
Continue reading the main story
“We talk about it constantly,” Mr. Wiking said. “I’ll invite you over for dinner and during the week we’ll talk about how hyggelig it’s going to be, and then during the dinner we’ll talk about hyggelig it is, and then during the week afterwards, you’ll remind me about how hyggelig Saturday was.” (The adjectival form of the word is pronounced HOO-gah-lee.)
Candles, many of them, are vital to the hygge experience. So is a steaming cup of glogg. Credit Photo Illustration by David Brandon Geeting for The New York Times; Getty Images (cup and blanket); Mattia Balsamini for The New York Times (backdrop image)
“Danes see hygge as a part of our culture,” he said, “the same way you see freedom as inherently American.”
When we spoke, Mr. Wiking — pronounced Viking — was home in Copenhagen for a few days after a multicity tour. He has written “The Little Book of Hygge,” which is already a best seller in Britain and will be out next month in the United States. It is the most engaging of what is becoming a full-fledged lifestyle category. More than 20 how-to hygge books were published here in 2016, though the Marie Kondo of the discipline has yet to be anointed. Perhaps it is anti-hygge to suggest that any one of its gurus might prevail.
Also coming stateside in January is “How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life,” by Signe Johansen, a chef and food writer, to be followed in February by “The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection,” by Louisa Thomsen Brits, who is half-Danish and half-British and who sells Danish furniture from, a domain name she was savvy enough to claim.
“It had the feel of the feng shui phenomenon,” said Cassie Jones, executive editor at HarperCollins, the parent company of William Morrow, which is publishing “The Little Book of Hygge.” “An opportunity to look to another culture for something intuitively familiar yet refreshingly new.”
Mr. Wiking is the only author to include a bacon metric in his hygge dissertation, which is embedded with charts, surveys, statistics, recipes and craft projects. Noting that candles (unscented) are a vital hygge accessory, he reports that Danes burn 13 pounds of candle wax a person a year, doing so even in classrooms and office buildings. (He uses the bacon metric for context: Each Dane consumes only half as much bacon, or just over 6 1/2 pounds, though bacon itself is very hyggelig.) Where Americans see a fire hazard, the Danes see an antidepressant. The Danish word for spoilsport, Mr. Wiking notes, is lyseslukker, “which literally means, ‘one who puts out the candles.’”
Cake is cozy … Credit Photo Illustration by David Brandon Geeting for The New York Times; Getty Images (fireplace); Tony Cenicola/The New York Times (cake)
In his own book, “How to Be Danish,” out in 2012, Patrick Kingsley, a reporter at The Guardian, wrote of his bemusement at the ubiquity of the term. His bike was hyggelig but so was someone’s table, or a walk through the Vesterbro district in Copenhagen. (These days, Mr. Kingsley is reporting from Turkey on the migrant crisis in Europe, and perhaps it is this vantage point that has made him see a darker, more insular side to all things hygge. Coziness, he said recently, is by nature exclusionary. “It’s built on the idea of withdrawing from the rest of society and building a sort of micro-commune among a select group of friends.”)
How to get hygge? Go home and stay there, preferably in your hyggekrog — a.k.a. “cozy nook” — wrapped in a blanket, drinking a cup of coffee and watching a Danish police procedural about a serial killer with your friends. (In his book, Mr. Kingsley speculates that the Danes elevate home life because eating out is so expensive — the food at Danish restaurants carries a 25 percent value-added tax.)
Scary stuff, if it’s fictional, can increase your hygge, as can a raging storm outside, said Mr. Wiking, who notes in his book that, on average, there are 179 days of rain annually in Denmark. Actual scary stuff, like the news, is not advised.
The avatar of the Danish procedural is “The Killing,” popular in Britain but available only on DVD, though not in whatever format it is the American DVD players run on. But you can find “Borgen,” the Danish political drama that has been compared to “The West Wing,” on iTunes. The show features some very attractive interiors embellished with iconic Danish modern designs, like Poul Henningsen pendant lamps, which Mr. Wiking explains are a sine qua non of hyggelig décor. To observers like Mr. Kingsley and Mr. Wiking, these shows were the Trojan horses of all things Danish in Britain, with the chunky, star-patterned sweater worn by the main character on “The Killing,” the detective Sarah Lund, becoming a particular fetish item (you can see it on a tribute website,
The question posed by Ms. Johansen, the chef, in her book, “How to Hygge” is largely answered not by furniture or clothes, but in recipes for glogg, muesli, fruit compote, salt cod fritters and roast lamb, her own versions of the highlights of the New Nordic Cuisine.
For her part, Ms. Brits, the author of “The Book of Hygge,” eschews recipes and goes in hard for a moody, meditative approach in which she extols the virtues of wooden bowls, cuddling, brushing your teeth while your partner brushes his or her teeth and stands next to you, being naked, vintage textiles, pendant lights, circular tables, burned spatulas, old shoes, honking geese and line-dried laundry, among many other wholesome items and behaviors. You may find yourself agreeing with her when she writes, “Hygge is a fragile bloom that can’t be forced.”
You can see why hygge is ripe for parody. As is the Danish language, which Mr. Wiking describes as sounding like a dead seal choking. The writer John Crace, in his column for The Guardian, found “The Little Book of Hygge” an easy mark. “One of the reasons the Danes are so much happier than anyone else is because there is very little to do in Denmark, so we have got used to having very low expectations,” he wrote in September, when Mr. Wiking’s book was published in Britain. “For us, a bike ride in the pouring rain with a candle on our heads or sitting on the beach in the pouring rain eating cake can be pure hygginess.”
As Jacob Gallagher, men’s fashion editor of The Wall Street Journal, posted on Twitter recently, “Hygge is the wabi-sabi of 2016 which was the sprezzatura of 2015.”
Indeed: Why hygge, why now? Lucie Greene, the resident futurist at J. Walter Thompson, said she thought it was a reaction to “the well-being movement,” noting the elitism of a lifestyle predicated on $100 Lululemon leggings and $10 bottles of cold pressed juices.
“Hygge is an easier trend to adopt because it’s so personal and so accessible,” Ms. Greene said. “You’re not just indulging for the sake of it. You’re supposed to savor it. It’s no surprise it came from a nation seeking comfort from the dark winters. It lends itself quite naturally to these uncertain times.” As for how it might play out on a retail level, she said she imagined “a massive emphasis on textiles and home wares, from affordable cashmere to candles, kind of like the cocooning thing in the ’90s.”
So are hand-knit things ... Credit Photo Illustration by David Brandon Geeting for The New York Times; Getty Images (chair
Cozy as an ideal is showing up in other unlikely arenas, like the preamble to a mixtape by ASAP Mob, a rapper collective, called the Cozy Tapes, a kind of Christmas album. A paean to boxer shorts, terry cloth and old man socks, the group debates who is the coziest of them all, with phrases like: “I was so cozy I fell asleep before I left the house.” (Speaking of cozy invasions, you will recall that the Russian hacker “Cozy Bear,” along with his or her colleague, “Fancy Bear,” have been wreaking havoc at the Democratic National Committee, among other organizations.)
Meanwhile, sells soft, furry Nordic home goods like reindeer skins, goat and sheep skins, startlingly adorable suede and sheepskin baby bootees, and an assortment of candles and candle holders. Its owners, Alexandra Gove and her fiancé, Koen van Renswoude, based in Colorado, were working in the hospitality business a few years ago when they took a trip to Copenhagen, Ms. Gove said, and had a hygge epiphany, something about the candles in all the cafes.
“I thought, whoa, Americans need more of this and I need more of this,” she said. “Once you have a word like hygge in your vocabulary, you can’t stop using it. I said, ‘This is it, we have to start business revolving around hygge.’”
The couple bought an early 1970s Opel Blitz camper van (with plump, Herbie-like curves and anthropomorphic styling, vintage Opels are very hyggelig). They painted the sides with the words “Hygge Life” and drove around Europe in summer 2014, selling Dutch pancakes called poffertjes at campsites and farmers’ markets. Back in Colorado, they started an online store, which is now a year old. They hope to build a hygge-themed hotel in the mountains, toward which dream they have bought the domain names and
Groggy from reading glogg and pancake recipes, and the accompanying reflections on hugging, sledding and board games by Mr. Wiking and others, I was poised to hygger here at home.
… particularly socks. Credit Photo Illustration by David Brandon Geeting for The New York Times; Getty Images (fireplace)
I wanted a real Dane as my guide — “cozy” and “New Yorker” being contradictory terms — so I called on Claus Meyer, a founder of the New Nordic cuisine and of Noma in Copenhagen, ground zero for his country’s slow food and farm-to-table movement. (Mr. Wiking rates Noma as one of the world’s most hyggelig restaurants, because even though it is pricey — things that are expensive are not cozy — it has the right lighting.) A year or so ago, Mr. Meyer moved with his family to New York City to roll out a number of projects. Could he show me a hyggelig time, I wondered?
A few months ago, Mr. Meyer opened the Great Northern Food Hall, a collection of hyggelig food stalls serving smorrebrod (open faced sandwiches), porridges and craft beers, among other New Nordic offerings, in Grand Central Terminal. Designed by Christina Meyer Bengtsson, Mr. Meyer’s wife, and her partner, Ulrik Nordentoft, it has hyggelig touches like tiles laid in a mosaic that recalls traditional Nordic knitting patterns. All December, Great Northern offered a Holiday Hygge Program, which included knitting workshops by Ms. Bengtsson’s mother, Anne Grethe; talks by Mr. Meyer on mulled wine, baking bread and vinegar; and craft classes for children.
Mr. Meyer suggested a hygge marathon in his family’s Chelsea townhouse. “I would go as far as to say that my wife is an authority in the discipline, and also in this field I am no loser myself,” he said. “We both grew up in families where hygge was everything. My parents then suddenly lost it, but that’s a different story that has only spurred my sense of it.”
On a recent Sunday, the Meyer family and friends convened for an extreme hygge performance. Three of the four Meyer children, Elvira, 20; Viola, 13; and Augusta, 11, were there along with Lydia Holness, a film executive, and her 12-year-old daughter, Lola Byrd. Lacking a fireplace, the girls had obligingly streamed a fire video on their television. Mr. Meyer, who is tall and lanky and speaks with a kind of barking precision, set out steaming glasses of glogg, otherwise known as spiced wine, and plates of chestnut-size balls of dough made with lemon peel, cardamom and apple and sautéed in butter.
That was the snack part. Normally, Mr. Meyer said, you would follow the pancake eating with a two-hour walk, then have dinner. Without the time for such an interlude, this being Manhattan, we bravely tucked into the next course. There was beef tartare with horseradish and pomegranates, freshly baked bread and an extraordinary “porridge” of rye, barley and black lentils, with bits of pumpkin and turkey in it.
Porridge, Mr. Meyer said, is both a hyggelig exemplar and a linchpin of the New Nordic cuisine. “But in this porridge, there is no fat,” he added. “That is the funny thing. So tonight you will digest as small angels.”
Mr. Meyer, who had clapped a knitted cap on his head that had been made by his mother-in-law, was feeding turkey bits to the dog, while Ms. Holness and I lolled in our seats. Leftover turkey does seem very hyggelig, I ventured at last.
“Porridge,” Mr. Meyer asserted crisply, “is even more compliant with the idea. Comfort food. Comfort food and hygge must be coinciding.”
Have some more cranberry compote, he urged.

Turning Your Vacation Photos Into Works of Art


A photograph of the Perito Moreno glacier in the Austral Andes in Argentina that was printed on a peel and stick fabric poster. Credit Stephanie Rosenbloom/The New York Times

It’s the season for family travel and photos — and perhaps enlarging some of those images of snowy landscapes or tropical getaways to decorate your home.
There are, of course, the usual print services and methods. You can choose a glossy or matte finish, print a photo on canvas, or make it into a poster with a few clicks online at photo sites like Snapfish and Shutterfly, professional photo shops like Adorama and Mpix, or drugstores and big-box chains like Walgreens and Costco. But the web is also home to many lesser-known printing services, as well as uncommon surfaces on which to enlarge photos for display, be it burlap, wood boards, acrylic or stick-and-peel fabric. Why not try some fresh sites and methods?
I recently sent some ho-hum quality iPhone vacation photos to a handful of companies that I’d never used before and had them enlarged to various sizes and printed on different surfaces. I’ve also offered some guidance about bulk digitizing those boxes of old travel photos sitting in your closet or basement so that you can begin the New Year if not with a vacation, then with a clutter-free home.

Engineer Prints

Of all the ways to turn photos into wall art, I was most interested in trying engineer prints, named for the large, lightweight prints used by architects. For less than the cost of a couple of movie tickets, you can make huge enlargements. Mind you, it’s a particular aesthetic, one that’s most likely to appeal to people who are after an industrial, shabby chic or bohemian look. The paper is thin and the lines of the images are softer than a fine art print. And engineer prints need not be formally framed. People stick them to their walls with washi tape, a crafting tape that comes in innumerable colors and prints; or they hang the prints using wood poster rails or skeleton clips. For a while, engineer prints from photos were primarily available in black and white, but now you can find them in color, too.
Continue reading the main story

One of the easiest ways to order them online is through Parabo Press, which is run by Photojojo, an online photography gear shop, and Zoomin, a photo printing service in Asia. As with all printing sites, you upload your image, zoom in closer if you like, and then click to buy.
The site’s engineer prints are 4 feet by 3 feet, and cost $20 in black and white, and $25 in color. I sent out two different photos to be made in black and white, and they came out, to my surprise, beautifully. I was impressed that they were able to be enlarged to such a degree and not look blurry. And the paper (while so thin I was worried about accidentally tearing it) lends it an artful, careless look rather than the expected framed print over the couch.
Parabo Press is a breeze to use: It’s clean and easy to read, your options are straightforward, and there are no annoying upsells. The site also offers prints on metal, glass, newsprint and Zines (handmade magazines); calendars; photo books; and prints from its Risograph machine, which uses soy-based ink and is described by Parabo as having “a cult following since its invention in 1980s Japan.”

Fabric Prints

A fabric print — not soft like a bedsheet, more like a place mat made of matte woven fabric — is another departure from a traditional photo enlargement. Order one from a site such as SnapBox and instead of framing it, you can peel and stick it on your wall. The site’s fabric posters adhere to (and can be peeled off) smooth surfaces such as untextured walls, glass, ceilings, tile and finished wood surfaces (avoid surfaces like stucco, concrete blocks, brick, unfinished wood, canvas or freshly painted walls). SnapBox offers fabric posters in more than a dozen sizes from 4x4 to 36x54, from less than $2 to about $80.
I ordered a 24x36 fabric poster for $34.99, a discounted price thanks to a holiday coupon — not cheap (you can buy fine art prints on other sites for less), but you’re printing on special material. Regardless of the cost, I expected the finished product to look like the sort of cheap thing one might see in a dorm room (it sticks to walls, after all), but I was pleasantly surprised. The fabric was durable and the details in the photo — crevasses in a glacier; onlookers on a bridge — were nicely defined.


The Tokyo Tower in Japan, printed on a wood board. Credit Stephanie Rosenbloom/The New York Times

SnapBox is a user-friendly site with clear instructions and pricing. In addition to fabric posters, it also offers fine art prints, photo books and prints on canvas and pillows.

Wood Prints

While many places can print photos on hard surfaces such as metal and acrylic, printing on wood boards is less common. The grain shows through your photos, which, thematically speaking, seems to make sense for certain subjects, like nature photos taken at, say, the beach or in a park. But what would something more modern, like a skyscraper or a tower, look like on wood? I decided to give it a try and put an image of Tokyo Tower on an 8x12 board ($65). I sent the photo to PhotoBarn, a family business that makes its products by hand in a “barn/warehouse” in Tennessee. The result was a lovely departure from framed prints and from canvas, which can sometimes make striking photos look like amateur paintings. The wood was smooth and thick, and the image was crisp with a slight sheen — a perfect complement to the steel of Tokyo tower and the silver and glass of surrounding skyscrapers.
For the most part the site is intuitive, though a few too many holiday sale buttons on the home page made for a disorienting start. PhotoBarn will also print your photos on canvas, burlap, and other wood products, like ornaments. I noticed a number of complaints about PhotoBarn on Yelp and the Better Business Bureau website regarding shipping speeds and customer service. I didn’t have a problem, but if time is of the essence, you may want to check with the company before placing an order.

Scanning Services

Once you’ve turned the best of your travel photos into art, it’s time to store the rest. If boxes of prints are taking up closet (and psychic) space, there are plenty of sites online that will scan your old photos (as well as negatives, slides and videos) so you can store them digitally. But there are several things to keep in mind.
In general, these sites are a pain to navigate. They’re cluttered with too much text and fine print, and they offer so many options — Do you want your photos scanned in order? Do you want both sides of the photo scanned? — that if you don’t have a goal in mind before you go in, you can quickly be overwhelmed. Decide ahead of time what exactly you want to scan, how many photos you have and how you might use whatever you scan. Also, note that some of these companies by default send DVDs or CDs of your digital files. Not everyone has a CD or DVD player. If you want a thumb drive instead, be sure to select that option (if it’s offered) or call the company and see if it will provide one. Be aware, too, that it’s not unusual for these companies to have long lead times. A number of them digitize your photos in other countries, so it can take weeks to get your images back.
For affordable bulk scans, is an old standby (you can read David Pogue’s review on The company will scan about 1,800 photos at 300 dpi for $145 at its headquarters in Irvine, Calif.; the cost of sending the photo box to you, as well as the shipping of the box to ScanMyPhotos and back to you again is included in the price. That’s one of the least costly and most uncomplicated deals around. Other companies charge for shipping photo boxes. I asked a photo editor at The Times if 300 dpi is sufficient for scanning and she said that to print photos at larger sizes, a higher dpi is preferable. ScanMyPhotos has such an option: a prepaid box for $259 for the same number of scans at 600 dpi instead of 300 dpi. A thumb drive is an additional $15.95 a box.
To find the best all-around place to scan photos and film, the Wirecutter, a consumer review site owned by The New York Times, researched 37 different scanning services and tested the top 12 contenders. Memories Renewed took the number one spot. The company, based in Minneapolis, Minn., offered “the best combination of price, quality, and turnaround time of any service we tested,” Wirecutter said. I was planning to try the service however, according to the Memories Renewed site, demand is so high at the moment that the lead time for most projects is more than two months. Scanning photos of any size up to 8.5x11 is 60 cents a photo; a thumb drive is $10 for 8 GB or $15 for 16 GB.

Scan It Yourself (at No Cost)

Let’s say you don’t want to ship your irreplaceable photos in the mail. Or maybe you’d rather that strangers not see your photos and home videos. You could buy a scanner and scan your photos yourself, perhaps doing a batch for half an hour each day. Personally, I don’t want machines around my home collecting dust (and fast becoming outdated). So I decided to try the new PhotoScan app by Google Photos. It’s free and enables users to scan prints with a smartphone.
First things first: These are not professional-quality scans. If you have prized photos in need of restoration, then go with a professional. However if, like me, you have a bunch of travel photos — landscapes, food, monuments — that you’re keeping simply because you want to remember where you were when, you may want to consider trying the app instead of giving up some privacy and spending upward of $150.
By and large, PhotoScan is simple and quick, with almost no learning curve. If you try it, just make sure to hold your phone level when asked to move it over the image. Remember these words: Don’t tilt your phone! Most of the scans I made looked as good as the prints in terms of color and clarity. That said, this is unlikely to be your solution if you want top-notch prints or have thousands of photos to scan.
Once you get the hang of PhotoScan, using it becomes a repetitive, vaguely Zen-like activity. That is, unless the app crashes, which it did several times. But I was still glad for it. Even when it crashed, it took only the tap of a finger to begin again. And you can’t beat the price.

Continue reading the main story