Choosing Photos to Scrapbook: Back of the Closet Edition

Choosing Photos to Scrapbook: Back of the Closet Edition

Anyone here have old photos? As in photos taken with a film camera? As in most of the visual record up until the turn of the century?

Me too.

What should you do with all those old photos? (and negatives, let’s not forget the negatives!)

First, bring them all together. Get all your photos in one spot. Get them out from under the bed, and the back of the closet, the photo album you had planned to put them in but never got further than slipping the envelope of pictures behind the front cover.

If you have negatives, and they are still packed with the associated prints, make a quick note on the envelope that describes what the prints are about, pull out the prints, and start stacking the negatives, still in their envelopes, together. Don’t worry that the negatives are no longer associated with the prints. What you are accomplishing here is creating a quick archive that you are going to get out of your house. Take them to work, or have your spouse take them to work. If you have a safe deposit box, throw them in there. Leave them at a close relative’s home. They don’t need to be sorted or organized in any way, just put a label on the container so if anyone comes across them, they will know who the negatives belong to. Any old box will do to store them, although if you want to spend the money, something fire and water resistant would be a good investment. The goal is to create an archive so that if you ever have a fire or flood that ruins all your photos and scrapbooks, you’ll have some thing to start over with, if you are so inclined.

Now that you’ve got your negatives safely stored, let’s look at the pile of photos you have left. Look daunting? Insurmountable? I bet it does. That’s okay, we’re not going to sort it all today, or even most of it. Today, we’re going to take a trip down memory lane, and just look through some photos.

As you look through your pile, you’re going to find some pictures are horrible, and you’re wondering why you still have them. Other photos are going to make your heart go pitter pat, and help you recall a really wonderful moment. And then you’re going find some photos that are just “eh.” They don’t excite you, but they’re not completely dark and out of focus and full of people you don’t remember.

Those are the photos we’re going to work with today, because those are the pictures that will help you tell more story than you realize is possible.

So this is what you need to do: find five or so that are related that you don’t hate. Look at them closely. What kind of stories can they tell? Start taking notes.

These are the photos I found:


None of these photos are very good. A couple could almost qualify as horrid, with the poor exposures and focus. But! (and this is a big but) I haven’t told any of the stories I could tell based on these photos. How much music affected my life. The trajectories of friendships. Even the fact that my high school band teacher dated my mom briefly after my dad died.

So, go gather up your photos. Archive your negatives, and find a few pictures that will help you tell a story or three. You can do this. Your story is important!


2 Responses »

  1. Thanks Kristie! I have a post for tomorrow that shows what I did with these. The goal is to get some scrapbooking done, and not let what we see as insurmountable tasks stop us from telling stories.

What do you think?