Tag Archives: memories

About Christmas

“The approach of Christmas brings harassment and dread to many excellent people,” writes Mark Twain in ‘Following the Equator’,  “They have to buy a cart-load of presents, and they never know what to buy to hit the various tastes; they put in three weeks of hard and anxious work, and when Christmas morning comes they are so dissatisfied with the result, and so disappointed that they want to sit down and cry. Then they give thanks that Christmas comes but once a year.”

Times have changed a bit since he wrote this non-fiction travelogue in 1897, but – as with a great deal of other things – his observation is largely as spot-on today as it was in his time.

Mind you, I wonder what he would say about online shopping and last-minute craze on December, 24th, about the exchange frenzy in shops straight after Christmas and the Boxing Day Sales. Very few people bother writing cards or letters at Christmas any more. Even less seem to do any baking or special cooking preparations that needs to take place weeks and days before. So I do really wonder why we seem to have less time and more chaos than ever before in the weeks leading up to this one day of the year.

Well, I am generally a organized person, and with our families and many friends largely on the other side of the world I don’t have a choice but being done with presents relatively early, so they can go on their postal trip around the globe. Our family Christmas card is usually done early in October, for the same reason. Being summer in Australia, and us only a small family, there is not much going on with endless hours in the kitchen, and large dinners and Christmas Day lunches, so I’m off the hook for that, too.

Yet, the last two weeks leading up to Christmas seem to go a bit more mad every year. I have odd relapses in my organization, I seem to forget a lot, run around a lot, am a little breathless and frantic.

Nevertheless, I didn’t sit down on Christmas morning and cry, so I suppose that’s a good thing.

And the last week was spent in calm and happiness with lots of laughter and love. I hope your Christmas was spent the same way, don’t forget to laugh a lot, especially about yourself 🙂

Xmas

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Theme of the Day Sessions

Every now and then I’ll be offering themed shoots in my little studio, only available on the specified days.

The idea for these types of more creative portrait sessions has been simmering in my head for a little while. My mum took me to the small photo booth type stall in the local mall every year around my birthday. It was quick, fairly cheap, and the whole family treasures the photos that were taken. I feel this is missing for many families today. Yes, everybody takes lots and lots of photos on their phones … and then what? Most never get printed, many are forever gone when the phone accidentally ends up in the washing machine or is being lost, usually the kids never get to see them anyway. They grow up not having any reference to their childhood face.

The ‘Theme of the Day Sessions’ will be in a decorated studio environment, depending on the theme.

Very easy, really.

Nest session is ‘It’s My Birthday’ on Saturday November 1st.

Children can wear whatever they like. They can bring any toy or favorite thing that they want have in the photo.

For $35 you’ll receive a 12×8″ collage with two 4×6″ photos and one 6×8″ photo with your text.

Contact me for bookings via my Website or Facebook.

ItsMyBirthday2web


The Texta Devil

This example shows that photos don’t necessarily have to be really, really old to have something terrible happen to them.

The original photo is from the mid 1970s and it had some creative artwork added to it with a blue texta.

When Mum discovered the culprit in the act she tried to wipe the texta marks off – which didn’t work and just got a lot of fluff stuck on the photo.

Luckily, Mum found me at one of the recent markets that I attended.

The blue texta was removed, all scratches and fluff as well. I turned the image black & white to get rid of the age-tint, but I warmed it up with just a little sepia. Overall despeckled and details sharpenend.

A beautiful memory, soured by this texta devil, has been restored in a good way  🙂

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Action Plan – One

So it has happened. Because of a sad family loss or other tragic circumstances beyond your control you ended up being in possession of a shoebox full of old photos and documents.

You’ve looked through them. Faces, places, stories, that may be familiar to you. And very likely, you come to realize that this is a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces. That’s what I thought when I ended up with lots of photos of my Grandmother from when she was young. I certainly recognized her, but who were the people in the photos with her? Why were they laughing? Where was this taken?

The documents you inherit may be old, fragile. The photos may be damaged, ripped, stained, moldy.

You’re thinking: “What on earth am I going to do with all this?”

First thing: Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. It happens all the time.

This post will be the first of a few that should help you get enough advice to get an idea of what may be involved in the process of assessing and storing old photos and documents.

In my experience, there are three categories of photos and documents:

1. They have no value other than that of the personal/sentimental kind, as it would be for family history. Their damage is minor, there is no mold present. The primary focus should be on getting them digitized, photos sorted and labeled and documents transcribed. This will ensure that should they deteriorate further or get lost, you have saved them for the family. Digitizing also means that you can share them with family that might not be living close by you. Sharing files online is an awesome advantage of our digital age. Once digitized, sorted and transcribed, the originals need to be stored correctly.

2. If you suspect the photos or documents to have collector’s value, you may want to get an appraisal for them. If their value is minor, you don’t intend to handle them much but still want to keep them save, you might want to follow the steps above. If their value is substantial and the plan is to handle them frequently, I strongly suggest you consult a conservator.

3. The whole lot is moldy and smells. This is a health hazard. I hope you were wearing a particle mask and gloves while flicking through them! Keep the moldy stuff well away from anything else, before it contaminates everything in its surroundings, and please consult a professional conservator ASAP.

Understand this: Photographs will fade over time, no matter what you do. Paper will deteriorate, no matter what you do. But you can slow down the process by avoiding their exposure to light, heat, humidity and pollution.

The photo below shows some snippets from a collection of about 20 letters from WW1, that I had the great honour of digitizing recently. This involved preparation of the previously folded letters for photographing, by carefully flattening crushed edges and pressing them overnight between acid-free sheets of paper, building a suitable document stand with a large white background, photographing them by daylight, without direct sun and no flash or any other artificial lighting sources. They were in very good condition so only needed some basic digital retouching to increase contrast and enhance the faded ink. Lastly they were all saved on a USB thumb drive, for their owner to share with the family.

One hundred year old letters. It was very moving to read what young men so long ago wrote home to their families.

So if you’re tempted to just shove that shoebox back into the back of the closet: don’t. It’s someone’s history. Treat it right.

BlogLetters


Merry Christmas and Snap On

I do like Advent. It’s a nice way to count down the days to Christmas and build up the excitement. The chocolate calendars are in the fridge, and we have another Advent calendar with little stockings, which magically gets filled every year with little toys and trinkets  🙂

This year I also wanted to make a visual Advent calendar. One photo for each day. It was so much fun planning, brainstorming with the kids, organizing the props and then getting all the shots done.

Well, the chocolate calendars and little stockings are now empty. It has been another wonderful Advent.

Sharing with you all the photos that accompanied us the past 24 days, and wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year. Snap on and make lots of great visual memories these holidays  🙂

 

VirtualXmasCalendar

 

 

http://azpictured.com.au

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Keep all special thoughts and memores for lifetimes to come

Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future. Mattie Stepanek

I always likes this quote. I first heard of Mattie Stepanek when he was on the Oprah show so many years ago. What an extraordinary young man. So much wisdom and so much grace. His words and thoughts have been an inspiration and have given hope to many people. I know they did for me.

I like keeping important and inspiring quotes in my small collection, to be read when in need of some extra wisdom and guidance. The other thing that gives me, I guess ‘grounding’ is a good word, is photos. I love looking through the old photos of my family. Comparing noses and hair lines. Dimples. Earlobes. Reliving Memories. Memories of people. Memories of places. Of smells. Of occasions. Of sounds. Of words that were said. Of jokes that were made.

As it is with photos, no matter how old: they will be affected by time, in one way or another. No matter how well they are kept, eventually they will fade, they will crack. Sometimes they exchanged hands and moved places so many times that they are ripped and teared and battered and bruised. How do we keep the memories alive when the keepsakes fail us?

Having worked in aged care, and seeing first hand in relatives how age affects the minds of so many, time and time again it was thanks to photos that a conversation could take place. That memories could be shared. That blank spots in the family tree could be filled. Because photos do trigger our brain in a certain way. And suddenly something we haven’t thought about in years comes straight back to us. Like it was yesterday.

With such an important job, photos do deserve to be taken care of. And to be preserved for the future. You see, I am quite passionate about his. This is why I love this part of my job. I give old photos back their life. To inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future.

This photo was taken in 1914 in Pennsylvania.

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