Welcome back! Check out this bio photo! It is an oldie, but still one of my favorites. I took it when Poppy was a baby. Nigel was at school and I set up my tripod and took some shots with the timer. Honestly, I get more than a little flummoxed when others take my photo. Conversely, when it is me and my self timer, I can get my groove on!I remember the morning this shot was taken. I was having a great hair day (which really means that my hair colorist got it right and I had just spent an hour scrunching and styling and had added enough "product" to give me about 1.2 seconds before it faded to the wrong shade of Napalm Pumpkin and lost all that volume I worked so hard to achieve!). And it was during the time when I was taking weekly shots of Poppy for her 52 weeks album (anyone remember that one?), so I knew when the sun would be radiantly glowing through our only non-underground window. I set that camera up, and plunked my well-coiffed self down and had me a good old fashioned one-on-one photo shoot. I have some b.a.d. shots but there were two in the bunch I dug. This is one. Maybe I'll find the other for tomorrow's photo.
If you haven't taken your photo yet, today seems like a great day. I hear the weather is perfect, gravity has eased its pull for the day, you ate while standing (making the calories free), and well, my goodness, you really do just look lovely today. Why, so good that you should take a photo today. You really should. Wow. Look at you! What a looker! (No, I did not say, hooker! I really didn't. You mustn't have heard me right!)
------------------------------------------------------So today we are talking about words. I liked our piles of photos yesterday. Today let's sort into journaling styles/people piles.
Writers. These people love their words. When you read their words, you are transported. They can be witty, clever, evocative, precise. They see the world in word pictures. In their minds, there is a verbal description commentary that runs on everything they see. For them, words are art.
Good with words. This pile of peeps can hold their own. They can move past the who what where and when, to the why and the how. They describe details. They are not afraid of words. They can neatly and appropriately capture the events, and the mood.
Scaredy cats. Afraid of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and the rules of writing. They can speak and communicate, but when the pen is in their hand, they begin to doodle, pretending that the alphabet was invented for others. Writing, for them, is something other people do.
Did you find yourself in there? Now, here is one of the great mysteries of the scrapbooking world. These same three categories can be given to photographers. Professionals, amateurs, and the rest of us. If you put a group of dissimilar scrapbookers round a table, no one would not put their pictures on a layout as they weren't "good enough." We admire good photos, and don't hang our heads with shame that our photos are more "homegrown" than others. But yet, we refuse to accept our "homegrown" writing. Why is journaling subject to a different set of rules? Why is it we leave off the words of the layout? Why do average photos get on layouts, but not average words? Hmm. Do we have some innate belief that photography is a skill and writing a talent? One you learn, the other you are born with, or done for?
I am going to disagree. Wholeheartedly. But before you go getting your big girl panties tied up in knots, let's reestablish our definition of journaling, for scrapbooking purposes. Let's just consider it writing down thoughts. That's it. Nothing fancier. Try not to imagine it as more. Let's cut loose the chains that are binding us and the deadweight that is keeping us down.
Do you still have your pile of photos from yesterday? Let's start there. Find one of the PHOTOS THAT MAKE YOU SWOON. One that you just love because you love it. I am going to work with this one.
Now, think of the back story for this photo. The who what where why when.
Here is my backstory: We went on a bit of family vacation to the South Carolina coast before I taught in Charlotte this past summer. I drag my family (No, amend that. Poppy and Lavender were smiling and happy, while Richard and Nigel were apparently stopping by the dentist office on the way to our "shoot.") to the beach to capture that radiant glowing beach photo. I am channeling my best Tara Whitney, and I am thrilled to be next to the actual ocean and not just the concrete beach of our local swimming pool. We get to some off the beaten path place and it is teeming with locals. Good sign. But at 10:00 am (well, 10:30 really, see above statement regarding tween and cougarbait) the sun was already high in the cloudless sky and the temperature exceeding 90 degrees with 100% humidity. It didn't take but a minute to realize that I was SO not going to get any sort of picture here. (well, maybe a couple, but not the one I was hoping for!) Not with the adverse conditions, and I am only partially talking about the weather. In choosing to not slay this ugly 12 headed dragon, I suggest we postpone, and we pack it in. (And then have to walk the mile back to the car...Ha! take that grumpy Y chromosomes!) Despite the rocky beginning, we end up having a nice day at the beach. We play. We rest. We stay til 5:00. And now, it is again time. This time we opt for the other side of the island, where we get some nice shots. (Note to self, if you want a photo that looks like something Tara would take, go to the Pacific Ocean and hire Tara to take it. I digress..)
Back to the photo, I wanted for my wall, really. And for the scrapbook. Because with PHOTOS THAT MAKE YOU SWOON, if it's good enough for the wall, it is guaranteed placement in a scrapbook. But what to say on this page? I certainly am NOT going to recount that long, dreadful tale of gloomies, grumpies, and squints for my pretty picture page. If I tell that whole story, I will certainly use either of these two photos. (They are more supportive of my version of events.)
So, back to the good one, what words should I add? Really, I don't need much. In fact, it could just be an artistic page, with very few words. Or I could talk about the relationship I see between my kids as a group. IT ISN'T WRONG TO LIMIT THE WORDS. If you choose it, you are not admitting defeat, you are choosing to be sparse. A matter of perspective that is incredibly empowering.
Now, let's look at the layout where the PHOTO TELLS THE STORY. Here it is again.
I could have written "Nigel drops a ball on Emma's head." But is that why this photo is waiting to go in my scrapbook? No. It is going there because of the guilt that is all over his face. And once I saw that, the rest just came with it.
If you can speak, you can write on a layout. If you don't believe me, go into your sent box in your email. Find a tale of a funny story that you sent to someone. Note the date. Find a photo that would fit the time or story and add it in. Suddenly you have become a "worder." You wrote on your layout. I am so proud of you!
Here are a few more places to look. Your tweets. Your facebook account. All those surveys you fill out. Your outbox on your texting account. Once you realize all the places that you store your words, you will jump for joy with seeing potential stories.
One more thing, remember the photo from yesterday and how it moved me so? If a photo moves you, let it. Then record some words about how. Don't bother "journaling" about it, just record words. You know how. I saw you do it earlier.
Ooh, one other last thing. When I am in a word rut, I try to find a new perspective. Maybe I look at the photo and try to imagine what someone 100 years from now would ask about it. (Now, I know you have scads and stacks of layouts to make and you don't need any other stories to distract you, but you need to get over that. (If you need help on that one, sign up for Stacy's classes. She is guaranteed inspiration on getting over that! Go, Stacy!))
So now that you are over that, look again at that photo. See anything with your future eyes? Wonder how much those jeans cost? How much it cost to develop that photo? What kind of camera took that photo? Or, why did that long ago someone take that photo? If you can't describe at least that, then remove that photo from your to-be-scrapped pile. Label the back with name, date, and place, and get that baby in your photo album instead. If you had a reason, tell me. "I took this photo because my grandchild has me so whipped that I can't NOT take his photo." "I took this photo because my cat means the world to me and is truly a member of my family." Have you already recorded that message? Then turn over the photo, label it with name, date, and place, and put it in your photo album. Haven't yet said that in your album? Woohoo! You now have words for your layout. I keep telling you how good you are good with this word thing. Are you starting to believe me?
Yesterday I told you that I am a scrapbooker who loves photos. I have another admission. I am also a scrapbooker who loves words. I record them in my phone, on my google calendar, on all sorts of yellow legal pads leftover from my previous life. I keep a personal blog for my journaling. I try very hard to note my life as I am old and my brain is mushy and forgetful. Without the words, my scrapbooks would be more like prettied up photo albums. And well, frankly, that's not what I am after. If you are okay with purdy photo albums, then forget the words, be honest with your intentions, and let go of any and all guilt associated with "journaling." But if you want more, take it. You can do it. They are just words, after all.
materials - all paislee press
back story: one of the photos from the first trip to the beach.
what: at the beach for family photo
where: Hilton Head, SC
when: Aug 11, 2009
category: PHOTOS THAT MAKE ME SWOON
words to include: how much Lavender loved the beach atmosphere
any stories to tell? not with this photo. any connections to make? Yes! one more way she is like me.