Friday, October 19, 2007

Great Green Globs of Glue

In an old trunk in a garage, a photo album like-scrap book was found. The album was one of those with the black pages. The author of the book had placed the pictures in the book using glue. She had talked about each picture with a short note. The book was prepared for her parents; the feature was her son.

The art of scrap booking is not new. The rage of cut, paste, and mount has been around for a long time. When we mount pictures permanently on any surface, it is going to change how we can remove them, let's say 50 years from now. We all know all the products available now are acid free. Are we guaranteed that in two generations these pictures are still excellent?

Can we be certain that in a few decades the digital photos are still good?

Who would have known the pictures taken in the late sixties would wash out even if they were carefully mounted?

What sort of condition are those black and white Polaroid pictures that you swiped with preservative are in now?

Did the pictures your children took and processed themselves remain in tact?

When Grandma mounted the pictures on her black paper album with glue, how would she have known the pictures would be stained through where the glue was? Would she have realized that pictures mounted front and back of a black page with glue that one photo may be destroyed when trying to get them off the surface? No, I do not believe grandma knew.

I have not been able to restore the Polaroids. The images are so light there is nothing left. The pictures mounted on old black paper can be preserved. One simply scans them. Home processed pictures have negatives and one can scan those 35mm negatives.

The pictures that have been cropped can be scanned to make bigger pictures; we will never know what was cut out. I have found pictures that I know the female was cut out of the prom picture because the person married someone else.

A a scrap book retreat last March, I watched people trim 4 x 6 pictures to fit on pages they were scrap booking. The beauty of scrap booking is the page is a total thought. There may be several trimmed pictures on a page but they are all one subject. It is generally not random disorder as are many of the pictures in old albums.

Most of us who take pictures have digital camera. We know what the shot looks like, if it is bad we can do an instant retake. It appears most people are taking their pictures to a processing machine or up loading on the Internet to have their pictures finished. Some folks have huge memory cards and just view their pictures on their cameras.

I am a cross breed. As a child, I was able to go to a photo studio and process my pictures as part of a Girl Scout badge. I got hooked on enlargements and cropping. I have hundreds of pictures that tell a story and a few truly excellent photos. I am really critical of my own pictures. I like to process my images at home because I can diddle with them. I like to take tight shots. I like my subject to be right there. I don't want anyone to have to search for the subject. If the subject isn't obvious, I can crop it to make it obvious. Home processing is not cheap but it is a fun adventure.

A couple of years ago, I brought a memory stick from a friend's camera to a photo machine. I was happy to see one can crop and highlight pictures. If this is your method of printing your images, take a little more time and see just what the options are. When you load those pictures, ask yourself, what is the picture?

Today I am going to a scrap booking retreat. I am bringing three projects. One is 10 Summers of Fishing. Another is my son's wedding. The third is my march to scan all the old pictures from the trunk. Obviously I will be multi-tasking; run the scanner and work on either of the albums at the same time. Will I bring books I have finished to share? Yes. Why? Because all of us scrap booking differently and we learn from one another.

Will I crop? Yes. Will I mount? Yes. Will two generations from now shake their heads and say, "What was she thinking?" Probably.

The trunk is packed. The inventory fills up the back seat. Do I really need all that stuff? We will see. Does it seem complicated? Perhaps. Is it? Not to me.

Think about this. One photo at a time. One scrap book page at a time. Start small and try not to get over loaded. Make it fun. Make it your project and let someone admire your work in a couple of decades. Do it for yourself.