As I grew older, but was still living at home, I always teased my mom about her “shrine” to me. She had every single school photo framed and up on the wall. Now that I’m a mother, I get it – and I’ve started my own version for Emily.
I’ve discovered that as parents, we take a lot of what I call “beauty” photos. These are those pretty pictures that don’t have a particular story pre-attached. I love using these photos from scrapbook pages that talk about relationships, personalities and other deeper subjects.
These photos are also perfect for grouping into a series. When you scrapbook then and now photos or a progression over time, at the core it is really about allowing a series of photos tell their own story.
In this wall display, I have gathered eight photos that demonstrate my daughter’s growth over her first year. Except for her birth photo, each one is simply an image where I plopped her down and snapped a photo of her pretty face – just because.
I chose to build this display over time, adding a new photo every other month. For those who need more instant gratification, choosing and framing a group of your favorite photos could be an afternoon project.
It is also a project where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Together, a series of chronological images tells many stories. On the surface it tells a story of change, but to the memory keeper this kind of collection can serve as a launch point for discovering much deeper truths.
When I look at these images on the wall, the photos tell me those deeper stories. I remember moments from the past and memories I really want to explore further. In this sense, your photo display can also serve as a prompt for future scrapbook pages.
Going back to my mom, I have a related story about how my teasing turned to lecturing. She and my dad had returned from a vacation with no photos of either of them, let alone one of them together.
I gave her a “talking to” on how when she’s dead and gone I won’t give a hoot about Hemingway’s six-toed cats. What I will want are photos of her.
The guilt worked and their subsequent travels have all included more photos of more than just the scenery. All those pretty nature photos are not wasted, however.
The thing is, even though we know the importance of having people in our photos, we can also appreciate beautiful landscape images that document “I was here.”
During my twenties, I had the fortune to travel to many places for pleasure and work. When I originally created this series of nine of my best landscape photos, I was simply trying to put pretty pictures on my wall. Now a few years later, I can see how much this chronological display reflects my path over much of a decade.
Some of the stories evoked by individual images are not the easiest to digest, but as a whole I can honor my past and my history. I can reflect back on a period of life and recognize how much these places shaped my own story, the one I am still writing today.
Not every story needs scrapbook supplies and detailed journaling. We shouldn’t forget the memory keeping value of simply sharing photos in our homes.
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