Now, I'm all for project 365 (taking a photo every day for an entire year). In fact, I wrote a rather lengthy article on it for The Daily Digi and it is full of amazing links and resources. I have a different idea for a 365 project this year though. This is something I've had on my mind for awhile now and taking Ali Edwards' Yesterday Today class last fall just cemented the idea for me.
I'm calling my project for 2010 a backward 365 project, although it could technically be called a backward million as well. LOL! You see, I don't need to work on the habit of grabbing my camera everyday because I pretty much do that already. I take a TON of photos each year. I'm capturing life's little details. My 2009 photo file ended with almost 2000 photos in it - and those are just the ones that made the final cut! I probably shot over 4000 photos last year. I will keep on taking photos this year of course, but I'm starting to realize that there is no way for me to keep up with that rate of production from a scrapbooking perspective. I'm ok with that because not every photo needs to be scrapbooked. But every photo really does have a story behind it and quite often there are only a few people that can tell that story. With newer photos I'm able to easily record some of the details even if I never do another scrapbook page. I blog about them. I load them into my flickr photostream and give them titles and tags. Older photos just exist in piles and boxes though. With each passing year, it becomes less likely that their stories will be told. Even the basic details of who, what, when, and where are easily forgotten. Even worse is that the stories can die if the people who remember them do. So this year I'm going to focus on bringing those stories to life. I may not do this every day, but I will think about it every day. It is a huge part of my photo organization goal on my list of things to do in 2010. Not only do I want the photos to be in order, I want the stories to be told!
I'm not just talking about the "big stuff", I also care about the little memories. Things that nobody would know about the picture if I (or someone else involved) wasn't there to explain the details.
If you lived in Utah in the 1970's, you might remember this boat ride at Lagoon. I remember thinking it was pretty neat! Lagoon seemed fun in those days. I really don't care for it much now. Those blond girls in back of me were family friends.
Me and my Mom in Disneyland circa 1977. I have vivid memories of spending hours looking through the Disneyland ticket books trying to figure out what rides we would be able to go on with the 'E tickets" - I'm really dating myself here! Back in the "old days" you couldn't just go on any ride you wanted to, you had to use your allocated tickets wisely. I'm pretty sure this was the first time I remember going on a plane ride. I'm also quite sure that we didn't go on another airplane trips for several years after this.
My Dad started his own business in the bedroom next to mine. Love all the details in this picture that my Dad could tell me about. My Mom could also fill in some of the blanks here. I don't know of anyone else who could though.
This is my husband at the age of 20 in Japan. He's the one with the bag. It recently dawned on me that he is the only person in the world who can tell me what this picture is about. I don't know who the other guy is. The only thing I know is that this was somewhere in Osaka because there is a sign that says so. If I don't somehow extract these memories from him, nobody will ever care about a big box of photographs that resides in our basement.
The trick with this project is that it isn't something that I can just do on my own. I'm going to need help, especially from my family. This project isn't on their list of things to do in 2010 (it is probably on my Mom's but certainly not my husband's) so I'm going to have to be a little persistent. I have been emailing photos to family members a few at a time and asking them to send me whatever details they can remember. Sometimes it isn't much, but other times I find little gems of information.
Here's a simple example of an old photo and what I found out when I asked my Mom about it.
from my Mom - This photo was taken in our apartment in Millbrae, Calif.(prob. 1972) We had bought that couch at Sears and it had to be moved in through the window because our entryway was too narrow. And yes, it had to be moved out that way too. As a side note - that couch followed us for years, and eventually became the 'big green enchilada' that Zach trashed. Ah, memories.
Someday I will have to tell you about the big green enchilada! So many stories to tell!
So whether or not you are doing a Photo a Day project, you might want to consider setting aside a little time to scan and document your older photos as well. I'm really excited to finding the stories that go with the piles of photos that reside in my house!