Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Photographic Cookbook, from PhotoWorks

By Christina VanGinkel

I was online looking for a font, to use in a card I was making, when as I often do, I ended up clicking on something totally unrelated, and found myself browsing the PhotoWorks website. I love using photos in as many unique ways as possible, and have been intrigued by the books that several of the sites, including PhotoWorks, now offer. You pick the photographs, add the text you want and they put it all together into a book format for you to keep for your own personal enjoyment or to give as a gift. The PhotoWorks site had a twist on this latest way to assemble your photographs that actually answered a dilemma I had recently encountered.

They showed the photo book project as an illustrated cookbook. Now how ingenious is that, was my very first thought when I saw the layout on their site! I had recently been given back a set of recipes that belonged to my father. I had borrowed the originals to a family member, with the promise that I would get back my originals after they copied them. I never saw the originals again, but at least had been given back a set of the copies. Even getting those had taken me years, and many hard feelings. My father had owned and operated a bakery for much of his life, and the recipes were from some of his specialties that he created for the business. If I had ever once thought that I might not get back the book that I had borrowed, all penned in my father's original handwriting, with personal notes throughout, I would never had borrowed it out in the first place.

When I saw the photo book, from PhotoWorks, I thought how great it would be to bake the recipes, one by one, photograph them, and put the recipes back into a brand new format. Not the originals that I would never have in my possession again, and not the copies that irritated me every time I saw them, a blatant reminder that family is not always as sincere as we would hope they would be. However, I would be reclaiming the recipes in a sense, putting them back into a format of my own doing, which I could then have for my own enjoyment and personal use. I could also have copies made and give them to each of my children. I could even order a few extra copies to give to my grandson when he was a bit older, and to give to a few relatives who were still shaking their heads every time they realize that I so believed of this other person I borrowed the original to.

The more I thought about the photo book as a cookbook filled with my father's recipes, I realized that I could also include pictures of him and my mother, doing what they spent a good portion of their life doing, baking! I even had a few photographs tucked away that showed some of the elegant cakes the bakery had decorated throughout the years, and one of the front part of the last bakery they owned, with the glass cases all filled with fresh breads, donuts, and cookies, ready for the start of a work day.

I could make what amounted to a memory book of my parent's work lives, complete with recipes, for my own family to treasure and enjoy for many years to come. Photographs can be much more than just pasted into a photo album these days. What with photo books such as these and the ease with which one can add photos to everything from coffee mugs to tote bags, from key chains to personalized puzzles, even personalized ceramic tiles to use in your own decorating, our photographs that we snap today and all those we have tucked away from years past, can now be given new life in an almost unlimited number of ways.

If you have a project that could only be enhanced by the addition of a personal photograph, be sure to check out PhotoWorks or one of the many other online photo developers for some unique and interesting new ways to put those photographs to work.

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