Pay no attention to the mother behind the camera (aka anti-scrapbooker)

Among my closest friends I am known as the anti-scrapbooker. I am anti-fancy paper and anti-glue dots and anti-scalloped scissors. I like to pretend it’s because I don’t have the time to spend crafting each and every photograph into a memorable work of art, but actually it’s because I really stink at cutting and gluing so much that I don’t even know how I passed kindergarten.
Not only that, but I am also a very disorganized person so much that my so-called desk has morphed into Mt. Paperandjunk and my computer has been officially kicked to the kitchen counter. So you can just imagine what my family photos are like. Our family photos, all thirty seven thousand of them, exist either on cameras, computers, haphazardly jammed in photo albums, or in a series of shoeboxes that I have so specifically labeled “2000-2005, plus a little 1999.”
Put this scenario up against some of my friends, who travel to special stores to buy supplies for special weekends away when all they do is put together lovely books of precious family photos. They create masterpieces out of nothing, making their children seem like superstars being photographed by the Paparazzi while all I have to show is a few outdated shots from my wallet.
“Here’s my daughter’s first Christmas. She’s almost eight now, so she’s changed a little.”
The truth is, according to, scrapbooking is more popular than golf. One in four households contains a golfer, but one in three has a scrapbooker, which means that the odds of someone scrapbooking about golf are pretty slim and also that I am really way behind in the times.
But all of my bad habits don’t stop me from wanting to be something I’m not: a mother who can someday pass onto her children a photographic masterpiece, despite the fact that she really wants to keep it for herself. So I set off to my latest set of prints, conveniently located in the mid-range of Mt. Paperandjunk so no oxygen was required. They were there, in about seven envelopes, spilling out all in one general region which made the excavation tolerable. Armed with even the most simple of photo albums and a permanent marker for labeling (a girl who can’t cut a straight line has to start somewhere), I started to look at my photos in a different way:
Great scenery of our vacation to visit the family.
There are the kids on the beach! How cute!
There’s the house…the dog…the backyard…some weird flowers I found in the woods…my husband…school programs…another shot of the dog…
And absolutely not one single photo of myself. Not even a thumb mistakenly put over the lens. And looking back, I can visualize myself toting the camera in my purse, snapping frequently hoping for that odd moment that the children looked adorable with the light just right and the smile just so. I can see myself gathering people together for a shot of this or that, and unless you count the rare occasion when someone else shared their photos of me with me, I can’t remember any real pictures being taken with my camera of myself.
And these are the memories I am going to preserve for future generations—a lovely book of photos of children in every situation and outfit they own, and pay no attention to the mother behind the camera.
There is, however, a new sheriff in the tiny town of Mt. Paperandjunk. And this sheriff wants to find her way into some printed memories, so she’s sharing her new set of rules on How To Take Family Photographs:
Make the dad carry the camera.
Learn to use the self-timer sufficiently enough so that you don’t have dozens of shots of yourself sprinting into a smiling toddler.
Enlist the use of your long arms by turning the camera around and grabbing a few of those unattractive self-portraits.
When all else fails, purchase a photograph manipulation program for your computer and while you’re adding yourself in, make sure to airbrush the wrinkles and thin up that waistline. My oh my, how your scrapbooking friends will be jealous.


Karrie - you did it! LOOK at this site, I mean...WOW!

Oh, I dislike scrapbooking too.
Loren said…
I agree with Sam, the site looks great! Scrapbooking is big in NY, but not as popular as in the mid-west. I'm more for the journaling under the pictures than the glue dots and fancy decorations.
BECKY said… the new "look". Also, I loved reading how you keep your photos! I used to always get aggravated at my mother for not writing people's names and dates on the back of old photos....and I've been doing the same thing for years! Acckkkk!!! I'm a baaaaad mom!

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