Scapbooking and Memory keeping have come a long way in the last 20 years ago. At first it was good just to complete a photo Album of any kind and then came scrapbooks, then came theme scrapbooks, then photobooks, then we introduced digital with “projects” such as Project Life or Project 365. All of these steps in the evolution of memory keeping have been about finding fun and easy ways for a person to document their lives & their family’s lives. Photo documentation has NEVER been easier. I love it! I really, really do. Over the years I’ve found myself diving into one idea or another always involving family documenting; then, something happened. About two years ago my family’s dynamic’s changed. (We are a small family; their are just three of us.) Without going into details, I will just say that my beautiful, amazing, teenage daughter spent some time away from the family. A LARGE CHUNK OF TIME! For a documentarian like I am that meant that there were NO Halloween pictures, no pictures of the pumpkin patch, no Thanksgiving pictures, no Summer swimming pictures, No Family vacations. For two years off and on there are large gaps in my family’s visual history. GASP! Horror! I struggled. I struggled with missing my daughter but I also struggled with missing my ‘calling’ so to speak. So, I decided to take the opportunity to kinda ‘re-evaluate’ my perspective on photo documenting and here is what I came up with. I looked through my family albums, my digital photo files, my cards and you know what I found? Thousands (yes, THOUSANDS of pictures of my daughter, hundreds of my husband, dozens of all of my pets and about 5 of my husband and I and nearly none of ME. No pictures of me alone, few pictures of me with the love of my life, no pictures of me with friends, no pictures of me with the girls I teach (who I ADORE!)…nadda. This is something I’d never looked at before, never thought of. In the past my I would have ignored that there were no photos of me, I would blow it off with- “Of course there wouldn’t be pictures of me, I’m the one holding the camera. Of course there were no pictures of me I’m fat/bloated/my hair looked bad/ I deleted the one where I had the double chin/I deleted the blurry one/ I have a goofy smile- Ick…/ I look too short in the photo’s and it throw’s off the proportions……” So, what was this gift that I had spent 20 years creating for my family? Twenty years of documenting our family’s life. 15 years of which it appears I nearly completely disappeared? What does this teach my daughter? That I’m important? I say “No”. I am ashamed to say that I think that inadvertently modeled for my daughter that I was ashamed of myself, that I am not important in the family and that I come last in all things. WHAT?
Time to change. So, about a year and a half ago I decided to change my perspective. I decided to take a hint from the younger generation that has so wholeheartedly embraced their camera phone and I decided to start by simply taking more pictures of my husband and I. I have an i-pod touch and those little things make taking quick “selfie’s” so simple. I’m not gonna lie, it was hard. I’m 9 inches shorter than my husband so some of those photo’s are whackily proportioned. Quite a few have bad lighting. All have two things in common though. All have My JR and me.
It’s hard seeing myself in those pictures but I’m getting used to it. So, after I got used to taking more pictures of JR and I, I decided to step it up. I bought an app called Pocketbooth. It’s a cute little app. Cost me $1.99 or so, I think. Anywhooo, doesn’t matter what it cost. The point is that I liked the app, thought it was fun and I decided to step up my efforts to document me and start taking pictures of me and my friends and my girls. I’m slowly making progress. I call it Project ME! I’m writing this blog post (that will probably be seen by about 5 people) and asking you dear readers to consider also doing a project ME! Project me! is simple. Find a simple way to take pictures of yourself (phones, ipods, camera) make sure it’s something you can take with you all the time. Try to take a photo of yourself with a friend, acquaintance or relative at least once a week. Look around you. Your world is full of marvelous friends, dear family, funny aquaintences…. All who add to your life to make your life richer and make you a more interesting person. Doing Project Me! is about documenting who you are right now and who makes up your world. It’s about it being OK to turn the camera on yourself (and if you’re like me it takes a while to get over thinking it’s a vain thing to take so many pictures of myself, and identifying it as kind of a ‘teenagerey’ kind of thing). Later on I’m going to post some fun and easy projects you can do with those photo’s but for right now, I mean it… RIGHT NOW…. start taking pictures of YOU and your world. Find an App you like, get a friend or your spouse in on the project, link back to this blog and show me where you started if you like or show me on Facebook.