Who Knew Photo Journaling Would be the Answer?
I HATE scrapbooking. I simply cannot emphasize that enough. It takes a long time. It is messy. It is expensive. It requires skills and patience that I simply do not have. (This can be testified by many of my closest friends.) What do I have though? Lots of photos.
It seemed easy for me to ignore the photo issue as they were digital and no longer in piles on my desk, but they also weren’t being used. Nobody saw them unless there was a special request for a function which required old photos. My heart broke at all of the wonderful poses and cuteness that were forever forgotten in a digital abyss.
I pondered what I could do with these lovely pictures and nothing came to mind. It honestly bothered me! I spent quite a bit of time thinking about it. I listened to friends talk about their scrapbooks and all of the wonderful pages they were creating. Still no answer … until …
One morning, I was steadily recording some information in my learning journal when it occurred to me that I should use my strengths! One of my greatest strengths is journaling. I record nearly everything. (The only person it really annoys is my sons who have most dutifully moved my boxes of journals with each move. They also are not amused by my obsessive need to shop for the perfect journal which could take quite a bit of time as well as hunting through a variety of stores.)
I opted to create a photo journal. First, I sent all of my pictures on my iPhone to be printed. (I used Wal-Mart 1 hour photo for the first batch because I was on fire, needing to start immediately! I know there are many other wonderful options out there. Look around and see what you like most.) Second, I chose a notebook that I would like. Yes … the forever hunting process which enthralls me. I love the process and enjoy searching to see what I can find. I chose a notebook I’d used before for other projects. I like the paper and the fact that it is spiral bound so that I can expand it out or remove pages if I need to.
I decided to put my pictures in chronological order. Choose whatever method you prefer, though. As stated, I started with what was already on my phone. I still have hundreds of other pictures saved on an external hard drive (and for safety purposes in a couple of other places as well). Maybe one day I will get to those pictures as well. 🙂 One can only hope, but for now, the 1000+ pictures that were on my cellphone will keep me busy for quite awhile!
With each photo, I attach it to the page. I’m not big on scrapbooking as I already stated, but I do have a few embellishments used for journaling. I put a few on the page as you can see, but the most important item for me was that there was an entry or story attached to the photo. I really like how it turned out and am excited to share it with my family as I continue through this process.
Another excellent piece of writing a story with my photos is that I am creating a family history. I particularly enjoy the fact that our history will be preserved for another generation. I try to include as many details as possible -addresses, timing, dates, people (full names) and locations. I even will try to put in the story surrounding the photo.
When do I do this? Great question. I don’t make it a task on my never-ending task list. Why? Because I want it to be something for fun that I look forward to. I also don’t work on it every day. I simply put in a picture or two whenever I am done working at my desk. It doesn’t take long, but it is so enjoyable. The best part? It has lifted my mood. I end my work day with a happy or funny family memory. Many times I have sat down at dinner time and shared the story or memory with my family. We end up laughing or reminiscing together. I found an added benefit — journaling, preserving family history and most importantly strengthening family ties.
By Tracy Atkinson
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.