Saturday, July 15, 2017

Documenting your Life Photography Projects

I have loved photography since I was 17 years old and today it's no different.  I love how a picture can bring back a feeling and memory in a heart beat.  Over the years with kids there are a few photography projects that I do each year and here are a few.

THE 52 PROJECT
This is where you take one portrait of each of your children every week for a year.  At the end of the year you end up with 52 portraits of each of your children.  This is not meant to be "stand there and smile" type of photo.  My documentation for this project is to take images of what the kids are into for instance James doing his Rubik Cube or Sienna doing crafts.  There are a few stand there and smile pics but mostly I just document them doing what they are doing.  Reading, at the park, homework, sports etc.

At the end of the year I do a printed photo book using Blurb and have 2 photos per page.  At the back of the book I have photos of just the 3 of us that I have taken throughout the year.  It's important for me to be in the pictures as well.  I don't put any pressure on myself to get a photo of us a week however I try and take them when ever I can.  At our recent Farm Stay experience I got 10 photos of the 3 us us together to add to this years book.  This is our 4th year doing this project and it's one of the really simple projects as anyone can take one photo a week of your kids.

Below is an example of a couple of pages from 2016.  Each week I copy the photos I want and put them in a special folder marked 2017 so I have all the images together in the one location.  I use Photoshop Elements to make my pages however most photo book companies have pages that you can use, I just prefer to use my own and then upload them at the end of the year and get my book printed.


WEEK IN THE LIFE
My other favourite project and one that I have doing since 2006 is called "Week in the Life".  This project is a huge commitment as it documents your life for 7 days.  Taking photos from morning until night time.  You can do this as simply as you like or as detailed as you like.  Ali Edwards a scrapbooker from the USA came up with this project and for one week every year she undertakes to document a week in their life.  I have done this project at the same time that she does it every year with the exception of this year.  I'm going to do mine in October as it wasn't possible to do it at the same time this year.  People from all around the world participate in this project with Ali and documenting their week.  Ali tries to do this project at different times of the year so that different seasons are included.

The significance of this photography project is just to document an ordinary week.  Everybody photographs the big events.  Birthdays, Easter, Holidays, Christmas etc but it's the in between what is our "ordinary everyday lives" that it's important to document.  Just imagine if your Mother gave you a photobook of 7 days in your life when you were 8 years old.  The cars that people drove then, the books you read, there were no iPads, mobile phones home computers (well at least I'm speaking for myself).  Family homes were big into wallpaper and brown and orange kitchens and building in the verandah with orange or yellow glass at the bottom and see through glass at the top to make a sun room.  What type of cereals you were eating at 8, I wouldn't have a clue however the packaging tells you which era it'' from.  We all had Hills Hoists in the back yard and the milk man delivered milk.  We had paper drums to put the newspapers in and during summer we emptied the papers out, put it in the front yard and filled it up with water and hopped in and took turns to keep cool.  Just being kids back then is very different to being a kid now.  What is normal now for children will be different when my kids are adults.

As I've mentioned, I've done this project for many years and it's such a valuable part of my family's history what it's like for my kids growing up.  I like to include stories about the day and have pages with some standard questions of the 3 of us like "What is your favourite fruit".  "What is your favourite subject at school" etc. more personal details of each of us in that year.  Here'a picture of the covers of our 2012 and 2014 WITL books.


What normal one year can be different the next even if you don't know it yet.  In 2012 we were at a different school than in 2014.  In 2015 we used to go to our local Video shop to hire DVD's however in 2016 this shut down.  In our 2012 book I have pictures of the kids in the video shop picking out their DVD's and yet now it's closed and everything is basically streamed.  Again what is normal today may change before we know it.  I'm currently in the process of finalizing my "Week in the Life" photo book for 2016 which we participated in May last year.   Here's a look at the cover.


I spend a lot of time putting this book together because it's a project I love and once it's printed it's done and we can flip through the book at anytime and reminisce on our life.

Here's a Pinterest page on people's Week in the Life books.  Elise did her WITL project before she had kids and while her husband was away on assignment.  I love the simplicity of her book.  As I mentioned you can just have photos, or have photos and writing.

DECEMBER DAILY

Although I haven't done "December Daily" project the last 2 years I have done it for the 5 years prior when the kids were little.  This project documents a story a day for the 25 days leading up to Christmas Day.  Again, imagine if your parents gave you a little photo book that solely documented all your Christmas activities, food, Christmas presents documented in the one place.  This is also a project created by Ali Edwards and a great one to do.

I take a lot of photos and getting them off the hard drive where I am the only one that sees them feels good.  I can only image that in 5-10 years there will be new technology and then we will be stuck.  I have a few tapes from our old Video Recorder days....umm...don't think I will ever be able to look at those again.  Getting your photos in print is what's it's about and I now I have a long way to go with this I now each year I at least have these very special projects done.

10 comments:

  1. WOW, what a gift to give yourself and your children. We did a trip to Uluru last year, and at the time I promised myself I would do up a photo book...I still haven't! And I'm cranky at myself! I have made a start, but I'm finding it a bit overwhelming to be honest, there are just so many photo's to trawl through. Recently after my FIL passed away, we got out a photo book that my MIL had made for us from a trip we did with them to Darwin, those photo's brought back so many memories and were truely priceless memories of our kids with their pop. I need to make 'photo booking' a priority in my life, thanks for the nudge :)

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    1. The photo book process can seem very daunting that's for sure. Albumworks is an Australian photo book company you could use. My friend has been using them for years. I prefer the quality of Blurb over album works myself. The album part is the easy part....picking your photos is what takes time. Going through your Uluru pics and picking out the best and possible pics. Once uploaded you can pick and choose which ones work and pick a template and you just drag and drop or dump the pics into the spots. Make 1 hour a day for 7 days to go through your photos and that's the biggest step done.

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  2. It's such a wonderful idea, I love the week in the life of one especially as with technology galloping along at such a pace, things are changing so much all the time xx

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    1. The WITL project is such a treasured gift to your family. You should try it.

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  3. What beautiful projects, Kathy. My son loves looking through photos from various years on our computer but I've not considered doing a "project" as such. I think I will look at the ones you've detailed here and investigate them more and see if I could do one too. Thanks! Meg:)

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    1. In the olden days we used to take 3 rolls of 36 film for months holiday...now I can do that in a weekend. Having them in photo books allows people to enjoy them way more than just myself at my laptop. We always have a good laugh when looking back on pics.

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  4. I'm terrible at remembering to take photo's. I always think of it as we are halfway through something and by the time I get the camera the moment is gone or the food is mostly eaten. I need to be more conscious about it :)

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    1. Best way is to have your camera in the living room or family room, lens cap off ready to go. Mine sits that and it's easy to pick up and take photos.

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  5. I wish I had heard of these ideas when my kids were younger. What great memories to look back on.

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    1. Me too Jan.....the other one at the moment which I will write about is "Self Portraits of Motherhood". I wish that was around when my kids were small too.

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