Since 2005, I've completed nine month-long photo-a-day projects and one Project 365 (which actually ended up being more like Project 368 somehow). To say that I love photo-a-day projects is an understatement. I love them because they have a beginning and an end, they require just the right amount of discipline for me to tackle, and they act as a snapshot of my life at the time—something that individual scrapbook pages do too, to some extent, but not in quite the same way. Photo-a-day projects are like fast-growing flower gardens, growing into the finished product right before your eyes.
I've always done "here and now" photo-a-day projects, though—capturing things that are happening each day in real time. Why not apply this same structure to deal with the thousands of older photos I have in my possession?
A little background, first:
Only the lucky ones are in acid-free photo boxes. This particular album featuring photos from my first few years belonged to my Grandma Rinehart, who gave it back to me a few years ago when she moved from Iowa to Florida and needed to pare down some things.
Hopefully I have painted an accurate picture of my Old Photo Dilemma: so many of them, and so few free minutes in a day/week/month to deal with them. I get that there is no one right way to scrapbook, but I also get that there should a general goal of not ruining or abandoning the photos in one's possession. Right?
Marie and I decided that it would be fun to try a photo-a-day project for June 2010 with old photos we have in our collections. I originally thought I'd use photos from all eras, but once I got started with a few photos from the late 1970s/early 1980s, I wanted to try for photos of Willis Sisters together if possible. I set the photo album up on my blog like I've done for previous photo-a-day projects, and committed to writing something about each one. They are not in chronological order, and I had to guess at some of the dates. Here is what I have so far (through today, June 25):
I have them posted individually with journaling in an album on my blog; Marie's album can be found on her blog, too.
The thought of scanning thousands of old photos one after another (and writing about each one!) makes me want to jump into bed and pull the covers over my head, but scanning/writing about one a day seems completely manageable to me. I just have to actively keep my mind off how long it would take me to finish at this rate—for now, one month's worth is an achievement. I haven't decided how I'd like to preserve them yet (Shutterfly book? blog only? In my favorite photo-a-day format—a 6x12 album?) but just knowing that by the end of June, 30 photos will be preserved, remembered, and made available for sharing with my parents and sisters makes it completely worthwhile. There are details missing from both of our albums, no doubt, but the process will open discussion within our family to reminisce and add more memories that might otherwise have been lost. After working on this project, Marie noted that photos from our childhood are single treasures that (up until now) live only for the person who has them in their hands—forgotten by the rest. It's so different from today when the majority of our photos live digitally, patiently waiting to be reprinted as many times as necessary.
So who's with us? Ready to tackle your own old school photo-a-day project? I dare you to beat our church directory photos for Most Awkward Family Photos Ever. : )