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My brand-new iMac froze while I was working in iPhoto ’08, and I had to force the computer to restart. After restarting, I relaunched iPhoto, but all of my photos had mysteriously disappeared! I looked in every conceivable place in the Finder, but they were nowhere to be found. How can I get my photos back?
It sounds like your iPhoto library has become corrupted, and it needs to be rebuilt. In iPhoto ’08, you can rebuild your library by holding down both the Command and Option keys on your keyboard while you launch iPhoto. Keep those keys pressed until you are asked if you want to rebuild your library.
The reason you couldn’t find your photos in the Finder is because they’re hidden within a special folder called a package file that looks and acts just like a single icon in the Finder. iPhoto ’08’s package file is called iPhoto Library, and it’s inside your home folder’s Pictures folder. When you double-click it, you’re immediately taken back into iPhoto ’08, staring at your empty library all over again.
Believe it or not, this is actually much more desirable behavior than previous versions of iPhoto. Before iPhoto ’08, the iPhoto Library was an actual folder that you could open and manipulate on your own, but that could cause serious problems within iPhoto - which expects your photos, thumbnails, and all corresponding XML data to be precisely labeled and organized in the Finder in a very specific way.
Hold down Command and Option while you launch iPhoto to rebuild your iPhoto library.