The Power of a Photo

One of the most common questions Life Your Way readers ask when we talk about decluttering and organizing is how to organize photos. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about all things photo-related with a special series from the Association of Personal Photo Organizers!

The following is written by Holly Wilton:

The Power of a Photo by Holly Wilton
source: ‘Playingwithbrushes’

Amazing conversations happen when you open a box of old photos.

One of the last things I ever did with my grandmother was talk to her about the photos in her collection. At the age of 94, having lived an adventurous life as a farm girl, business woman, college grad, mother and world traveler, she had become nearly immobilized and was hooked to an oxygen tank round-the-clock. In fact, her failing health may have been the only reason she slowed down long enough to really delve into her old photos.

Talking with her I learned things about her, laughed with her, bonded with her, and made her feel very treasured. And I recorded her stories, scanned her photos, and am making a book that I can share with my family.

My grandmother’s book is a work in progress.

I’m inspired to complete it, though, by some of the books I have made for clients, and by their reactions upon receiving them.

Jenifer’s Album

One client, Jenifer, was from a large family. Her father had died when she was young, and she had lost her mother in recent years. Jenifer wanted to preserve two journals her mother had written and share them with her siblings. Because she didn’t want to take the journals apart to be scanned, I photographed the pages for her.

We paired the photographed book pages with other personal photographs creating a mini-autobiography of Jenifer’s mom. When Jenifer and her siblings got together to proof-read the book pages they were in tears, savoring and sharing the memories of their mother.

Charles’ Album

Another photo book was for a Methodist minister, Charles, who was being honored for 50 years in ministry. Charles’ wife secretly provided me with photos for the book. I wrote out 20 questions and interviewed him over the phone on the premise that I was writing and article for the church bulletin. The material came together in a book that was a beautiful portrait of Charles’ career.

My Grandmother’s Album

And, finally, here is a sample from the book of my grandmother’s photos. These photos show my great grandparents seated in their living room back in the early 1900’s. My grandmother had carefully saved labels from her father’s businesses which scanned very nicely. The labels not only make the pages more interesting, but they also help tell the story.

I’m so grateful to my grandmother and to her mother for preserving these memories. The photos are not in perfect condition, but combined here with her stories, the images are worth more than gold.

Have you dug into your own families’ history and photos yet?

Click here for all of the posts in this series.

Holly Wilton is a mother to two teenage boys and a Personal Photo Organizer in the Orlando, Florida area. Her business grew out of a passion for photography as well as her public speaking and business experience. A member of the APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers).