Saturday, April 03, 2010

13 Ways to Better Photos...Day 13 {publish}

As I’ve looked back through my scrapbook pages, I realize that my favorites are the ones that TELL A STORY. The photo’s are important, yes--& they tell a story of their own…but sometimes words are a much more powerful weapon! I know that I’d like to know how my great-grandmother wrote…& I have no documentations of her handwriting! I’d love to know what she loved about her husband, where her favorite spot in her house was, the neatest places she’d traveled to…

But not all of us are award-winning writers. Or even writers—at least we certainly don’t feel like professionals. And in turn, we back away from recording our memories. News flash: YOU DON’T HAVE TO WRITE WELL TO WRITE AT ALL…. (how is that for a grammatically correct sentence?)

Here are some ideas to help jump-start the process….

Make lists! (I, for one, do this VERY well…). If you don’t feel confident in using paragraphs, make a list of memories, emotions, or even places you went to on your last vacation. Sort of like a “Mastercard” commercial, paired with a photo, your simple list can become just the right amount of ‘spark’ to remember the details.

Take the photos LATER! Write about something first—a memory, a special item, a loved one—and then try to snap a photo that matches the sentiment expressed in your writing. No one says photos always have to be the first prompt…try making words a prompt for your pictures!

Take the photos FIRST! And then sit down to write, remembering just one or even a variety of things about what is happening in the photo. Little is more annoying to me than scrapbookers who put pre-formed words on lovingly-crafted photo pages. Words like “cute” paired with a photo of a baby. Or words like “play” paired with their children on the playground. Because DUH!!! The baby IS CUTE—we all know that. And the children ARE PLAYING—quite obvious, thank you. If my mother handed me a book of my childhood photos with only silly words on them like “grow” & “learn” & “play”, it would mean nothing more to me than if she would have handed me a stack of photos. We need words—simple, complex, in full sentences, or in little pieces. Show a piece of yourself. And when you take the time to document the memories through photos, take an extra 5 or 50 minutes to write something (anything!) MEANINGFUL about them as well.

So you might be thinking: But what if I can’t remember what is IN the photo? NO PROBLEM. Likely, you’ll remember something—even the smells—of the picture. Take this scrapbook page, for example.

early years: 445 Greenbrook
I knew that I lived in this house during first & second grade. But this photo was snapped on any regular day after school—playing with the neighborhood kids. And because it was in my possession (& not my mother’s), I couldn’t remember the details. So I wrote about it anyways…

“I remember the tile landing right when you walked through the door. I remember the big blue bathtub I was proud to call my own. I remember the kitchen, the glass dining table, & the quarters that always sat by the washing machine. I remember the back porch where I’d clean my hamster’s cage each week with 409 Disinfectant Spray…”

See? A list of memories—in paragraph form…brought together to explain a picture having nothing to do with little 7-year-old me in the middle of the street at our old house. But it works. And suddenly, instead of a photo of a seemingly-cold little girl, we have a story…it comes to life.

Another method is to write a letter to the person in your photos. Even if that person is unknown or a distant ancestor, you DO have something to say to them. Questions, maybe; about who they were, about their daily lives, and about how you maybe aren’t so different from them afterall. You’d be surprised how powerful letters to pictures can be….

I’d encourage you to flip through your photos. And similar to my notecards in my {insane} organization system for already-printed photos still-to-be-scrapbooked, grab a notecard or pad of paper & jot down whatever comes to mind about one or two photos in particular.

here is a great link about one way to approach it your photos

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