Photography by the Year June 21 2008, 0 Comments

During this past year, I have documented more significant events in my family than I can ever recall in a single year. My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, my dad turned 75, and my brother turned 50. Add to that, all the usual birthdays, holidays, my niece getting her driver’s license and the result, is one packed photo album!

I have come to photograph my family by the year. Instead of finding rows of diaries about these events on my shelves, you will find photographic journals of these events as they have unfolded. The idea is the same. Some write to chronicle their lives, some photograph to chronicle their lives. From my perspective, photographs can easily tell the story of one’s life, just as a diary.

Here are some tips for creating your own photographic diary one year at a time!

First, think about the typical events in a year, birthdays, holidays, family get togethers and such. Note any special events for the up-coming year, such as weddings, or graduations.

Secondly, choose a photo album that will fit on your shelves in a family room or central location where the images can be enjoyed by the whole family. When purchasing an album, buy more than one. I usually buy ten at a time. This may sound like a lot but I want them to be all the same size and all the same color. Ten at a time allows me to set up my photo journal by the decade. The next ten will be of a different color, perhaps a different style but always the same size. This allows me to identify specific periods of time, the 1980’s, 1990’s and so on. You may also want to purchase a couple of extra albums in case you need a “volume two” for a particularly busy year, like the one I just had.

I then create one simple label to identify the year of the images and place that on the spine. That way, when I am looking at the albums on a shelf, I can identify which one I want quickly.

Next, I print all images in a 4×6 inch format. I chronicle the album by month. There should be enough space in the album to place a 3×5 index card identifying the month, day and event in between sets of images.

Finally, I make a CD of the images for safe keeping and tape it into the back cover of the album. This makes it easy when someone else wants copies of the photos. It also insures that it won’t get lost!

I have about forty personal albums. I have run out of room on my shelves but I keep creating them anyway. A photographic diary is a fun way to spend time with family when they are hundreds of miles away or when you just want to reminisce about the memorable moments of your life and the lives of those you love.