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?

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11 Responses to Blog: Being a scrapbooker in the age of instant gratification

  1. Jan says:

    I love this, Alison. Like you, I’m a words and pictures girl. I want the story, the back story, and the proof! And putting it all together in a book is worth all the time it takes!

  2. Sarah Rold says:

    I love it! That is exactly why I’m a scrapbooker. People don’t always realize the hard work and love that goes into a scrapbook, but it’s always worth it in the end!

  3. Janice says:

    I love that we “scrapbookers” sometimes get the automatic role of being the “official” photographer at gatherings – and not just for the official “stand and pose” photos. Love your blog Alison, and the story telling is just as important as the actual photo itself.

  4. Tara Wells says:

    I absolutely love, and agree, with this blog entry! I love that my family understands my “need” to take lots of photos, well – usually. But I feel that the pictures are only part of the story for me. The journaling adds a whole dimension to my books that make those photos really come to life. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Deanna Emmert says:

    YES! Recently I discovered 2 pages of my D2D project were missing from my project: C is for and G is for were nowhere to be found! I thought I would have to try to re-create them all over again. Thankfully Ron found them on one of our back-up EHDs and we reinstalled them into the project. I looked at those pages and knew that I could have recreated the photos, but the journaling behind those photos would have been lost forever because I had already forgotten those details and moved on to other pages. Photos and their stories told from a personal perspective are what scrapbooking is all about! Thanks for the encouragement, Alison! 🙂

  6. Karen says:

    So very true Alison. I want the story as well as the pictures or what good is the picture. Memories fade but our pages will be around for years to come.

  7. adakallen says:

    Love this article!
    I let the family take the pictures and I scrap them.
    They get more pictures and better pictures and they share. After all I am 77 years old and not quite as steady as I used to be so I am happy to let them take the pictures. I always have the cell phone just in case I need to take a picture when they are not with me.
    I saw one of these “Remember when…” photos the other day of a photo processing shop. Those were the days of “careful” photography because of the expense. Today, you nailed it “instant gratification” we can snap and scrap away…so much fun!
    Thanks for all you do for all of us!

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