I don’t know if you have ever thought about it, but being a scrapbooker has its advantages – especially for mums. Let me explain what I mean. Everyone in my family knows I’m a scrapbooker. Most of my friends know I’m a scrapbooker. That means that they know, when something happens, I’m going to whip out my camera and take a few (or more than a few!!) photos. Them knowing that I’m a scrapbooker gives me permission to be the crazy photo-obsessed one. It gives me permission to capture the everyday moments, the big events and the small. It gives me permission to say “Stop the car! I have to grab that shot.” It means they will bear with me (if only briefly and sometimes begrudgingly) when I need to take a bit longer to find a better angle, or wait for the light to be just right.
Strangely, being photo-obsessed is actually becoming quite normal these days. This is the age of the selfie. My kids’ generation think nothing of snapping away on their phones, and posting the results on Instagram or Facebook, garnering 50 likes in 3 minutes. When I went into the city for a day recently, I noticed how many people there are wandering around with cameras these days – not just tourists with tablets or smartphones and selfie-sticks, but amateur photographers with the latest lenses, often toting tripods and even lighting gear. Photography groups and courses are springing up everywhere. Everywhere I go online I see photography – not just taking photos, but making photos – being discussed, photos being shared, tips and techniques analysed. Photography is more mainstream now than it’s ever been.
But I’m not just a photographer – I’m a scrapbooker. And that means I’m not just interested in the instant gratification of taking a photo and uploading it for its brief moment of attention before it gets replaced by the next image, and the next, and the next, in someone’s feed. Being a scrapbooker, I’m not just interested in the photo – I’m interested in the story. That’s why I make a habit of regularly pulling the photos off my memory card and into Historian. That’s why I tag them, star rate them and jot down notes about them – before I forget all the details. That’s why I export my photos to Artisan and make them into pages in books – books where I tell the stories behind my photos, share my feelings about the stories I’m recording, and preserve the memories for the future, both for myself, and for my family.
And being a scrapbooker mum gives me permission to ask my family (and friends) to share their stories too. My kids know, if they go on a trip somewhere, I’m not just going to ask for the photos – I’m going to interrogate them for the details. When my son came home from his trip to Europe with my Dad 2 years ago, I sat him down and got him to tell me what he remembered from each place he visited. Then I turned those photos and the notes I took into a book that he and Dad will be able to pore over for years to come. Next month Alex is going on a month-long mission trip to Fiji. He’ll be busy and won’t have a lot of time for taking photos, but there’ll be some, and he already knows, when he gets home, I’ll be asking lots of questions!
The thing is, there’s no instant gratification in scrapbooking. It takes time to pull the photos and stories together, and it might take months, or a year or more to make a whole book. But those memories, once recorded in the pages of a book, will last way longer than the fleeting ones on Instagram. And they will be shared, not with a whole lot of virtual strangers in ‘the cloud’, but with family and friends sitting together, turning the pages, remembering, laughing and crying together – and with future generations for whom they’ll be an important connection with the past. That’s what makes being a scrapbooker worthwhile, don’t you think?