Thursday, June 13, 2013

My (Long) Response to an Article About the Future of Scrapbooking

A friend posted about this article on Facebook today.  I started to repost there, but felt like I needed a longer response, so here goes.  You can find the article here on the Scrapbook Update website,

The article discusses the decline of the scrapbooking industry due to digital cameras and social media.  People are taking more photos, but sharing them instantly, not scrapbooking them.  SHe also commented that she still scrapbooks because how will her kids know which of the 4,000 photos taken a year were important.  What were the stories behind the photos?  She also mentions Ali Edwards' approach to storytelling and Becky Higgins' Project Life, two people and methods I have integrated into my scrapbooking in recent years.  

I believe the stories behind the photos are what I want to preserve.  I've definitely evolved as a scrapbooker over the years.  I no longer feel like every photo has to be scrapbooked.  When I first started scrapbooking, I felt pushed to scrap every photo and I was always "behind" in my scrapbooking.  I didn't always tell the stories, either.  I have lots of layouts with just a title and maybe a date.     Then with digital cameras, I was taking way too many photos and there is no way I could scrapbook all them.  I would stress myself out and do 10 pages of one event or try to fit 20 photos on a page.  There wasn't much sustenance there.  I wish I had taken the time in my wedding scrapbook to document conversations and feelings instead of cutting photos into silly shapes.  I wish I would have included the birth story for each of my boys, not the gory details, but the memories and feelings, instead of just the basic information.

My scrapbooking now is a hybrid of lots of ways of thinking about it.  I still hold monthly scrapbook workshops that are paper based, traditional, scrapbooking.  I scrapbook those photos which are a) important to me, b) I have a handful of photos from, or c) photos I have that match the monthly papers (I'm being honest here).  These pages represent the more artistic, creative side of me.  I admit it, cutting paper and creating something tangible makes me happy.  I will NEVER give up the actual papercrafting side of scrapbooking.  It's just too much fun!  I don't, however, have time to scrapbook everything that way.

 I also digital scrapbook on Studio J.  I love that format because they match my regular layouts, and I don't notice the difference in my albums.  I also am starting to use Studio J for events I have lots of photos of.  I can upload all of them and separate them onto the pages as I go.  A few months ago,  I scrapped 400 photos of our trip to Alaska into one beautiful album.  I did it in a couple of weeks.  Traditional scrapbooking would have taken me months  or I never would have gotten around to it.  I still have all of our photos from our Washington DC/Pennsylvania trip we took our years ago not scrapbooked.  I also have a Project Life album that documents more of our daily lives and those  events where there are only a few photos.

I started out with Project Life really well.  The first year I did it, I kept up on it and it was great.  My current one I started last summer and dropped off at the end of last summer.  I'm now trying to go back and document the last ten months.  It's fast, but would have been easier as the year progressed.  The stories would have been easier to tell.  I think for the next little while at least, I want to focus even more on the stories. I am a writer at heart, but I don't always tell the full stories in my scrapbooks.  I want to challenge myself to create more photo less pages or one photo pages with the full story.

No matter how I put them together, I truly feel scrapbooking and telling our stories is so important.  Even more so in this digital age.  I can't imagine my kids and grandkids ever sorting through the thousands of photos on my hard drives and figuring out who people were and what was happening, and why great grandma took 300 photos of one day at Disneyland.  I get a huge satisfaction not only from the process of creating pages and completing albums, but also from the finished product.  I love when my kids sit there looking through albums and giggling at the stories and photos.  They will sit therewith separate   albums and constantly interrupt each other to share and laugh and tell their own memories.  I love it!  They don't get on the computer and do the same thing.  There's just something about those big books!

For another great article on the scrapbooking industry, check this one out.  It's from Close To My Heart CEO Jeanette Lynton. It looks at the industry from a retail point of view.  I admire Jeanette, and this reenforces my reasons for being a CTMH consultant.  

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