Friday, May 19, 2006

The Evolution of Scrapbooking

By Christina VanGinkel

Scrapbooking is an ever-evolving way to capture and store memories. Much of the time, it involves a single photograph, or several, that are the focal point of a layout. Around the picture or pictures, the person putting together the page may also include a title, along with other embellishments. However, more and more people are asking if someone could create a scrapbook layout, even if there are no pictures. The answer is a resounding yes! Scrapbooking without pictures is an honest look back at the beginning of scrapbooking. Long before the term was even coined, there were those individuals who strived to create memory books, something a bit beyond the classic journal, which had been popular probably since the beginning of time.

These scrap pages would include journaling about the event that was to be saved on the page, and a few mementos in direct relation to the event. With the advent of the camera, it became popular to take a snapshot or two and either just stick those in a photo album, or use them in a scrapbook. The ones that were just dumped into photo albums often meant that future generations who might find the book, often had no idea of who or what events and memories they were even looking at. Those who put them into a scrapbook though, knew they had hit upon something. Here, they had the best of both worlds. They could document an occasion with a snapshot of the memory, add a memento or two, maybe a bit of journaling or at least a couple of notes, and voila, future generations had the whole picture. By combining an expanded version of a journal, along with a photo album, they had combined the best of both worlds into one!

Then, as time passed, and cameras once again made a major transformation, this time going digital, another whole world to those people who strive to save and store memories was born. With a click of the finger and not much more, they could snap a dozen photographs in a manner of seconds. With this new ease in photography, some of us were so overwhelmed, that we used many of these so easily obtained photographs to fill the pages of our scrapbooks. Because of this multitude of photos at our fingers, we often overlooked the most impressive (and useful) aspect of a scrapbook over a traditional photo album, and that is the information provided for those who might someday come to possess these books we so painstakingly created.

We had progressed from creating books of information, to a book of information with a few photos to top off the pages. From there to fancy paper filled books overflowing with good looking photos and often embellishments to boot, but sadly, lacking in the vital part of what makes a scrapbook so unique, and that is the information, the journaling, the notes, the mementos of the event.

Some of us who keep scrapbooks recognized this fact, and in hoping to combat this, we have been doing a complete turn on some of our layouts by not including any photographs whatsoever, just a page filled with mementos and words. When some future generation opens the pages of our scrapbooks, we want them to have the best of both worlds. Pages that have photographs and journaling, along with layouts that we took the time to document events from start to finish, even if it meant not including photos on those particular layouts.

While I feel that there is no right or wrong way to scrapbook, a scrapbook with words is almost always more enjoyable to look through than one without any at all. It is like being given permission to be the proverbial fly on the wall. The next time you sit down to scrapbook, take the time to think about an event or special occasion in your life that you might not have a photograph of, but that somebody in the future might enjoy hearing about. Not only will they enjoy reading it, you will have the instant gratification of reliving it as you take the time to record it, be it pen to paper, or typing it out via the computer!

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