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Thread: What to do with seven mismatched photos?

  1. #1
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    What to do with seven mismatched photos?

    My family spent last Thanksgiving at my dad's house. My mom died last summer and this was our first holiday without her. Needless to say, it was quite depressing in a comical way. Meaning, the grief was still right there under the surface, but watching us all try to get things together and do all the stuff when she had always "been the glue" was kind of ridiculous and we laughed a lot. We knew she would be bonking us over the heads with frustration at how clueless we all were. We couldn't even find the placemats and napkins, for crying out loud!

    My sister put up the Christmas decorations BEFORE Thanksgiving because she knew my dad wouldn't do it.

    So for the entire Thanksgiving holiday, I have seven photos. Two of my niece and sister doing some kind of dollar store craft; one of my dad's cat; one of my mom's caroling dolls decoration; one of the bottom half of my grandfather's Advent calendar; one of the only Christmas tree my dad put up, which was a 2-foot-tall artificial tree in the corner of the dining room; and a funny interaction on a white board between my son and my dad. Thank goodness I didn't take a picture of my mom's urn, decorated with pink sunglasses, a feather, Mardi Gras beads, and a pink flamingo cardboard party decoration. Please don't ask. I wasn't involved in that decision.

    Have mercy on my soul, what in the WORLD do I do with these pictures? Do I scrap them? Is there a way to make it sort of a tribute to my mom without being sad? Do I just delete them? I am trying to finish my 2013 album and these are the kinds of photos that are grinding the project to a halt.
    Sarah
    Equipment: Canon T2i (550D) with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, 55-250mm f/4-5.6, 50mm f/1.8, and 400mm f/5.6L lenses
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  2. #2
    First of all,I am sorry for you and your family's loss.... my best advice would be to scrap the photos and tell the story of your family and their journey of healing,change,frustration,and attempts at humor for coping.While I of course do not know you or did I know your Mother, I am a Mother and I think I would rejoice that you were all together trying for the family. She would be thankful that you were trying to carry on traditions and spend time together.I know how difficult loss is and I think you have to give it some time... it still does not take away the loss but you become stronger and adjust.Good luck my friend.... I have heard so many scrappers say and tend to agree,that sometimes you have to scrap the not so happy times as part of the healing process.
    Pam

  3. #3
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    It is a really hard one, Sarah. I am probably the worst one to give advice because this is probably the reason I have NEVER completed a yearly family album! But here are some ideas:
    * since the photos are a mish mash, I'd be tempted to throw them onto the page using a higgledy piggledy photo cluster.
    * if the colors don't work well together, make some b&w, perhaps blend one into the page background.
    * export your photo collage for web and upload it to kuler.adobe.com/create/image/ to see what colors it would suggest you add to unify the page.
    * it sounds like there is more story in the journaling than there is in the photos, so keep the photos small. Leave white space on the page or fill it with journaling.

    One day I'll have to try following this advice to see if I can finally finish an album.
    It is a great question. I look forward to reading what other people suggest!

    ETA: reading your question again, is it possible to blend a pic of your mother subtly into the background to sort of suggest that she was watching over you (or even laughing at your attempts to find napkins, etc)? That might help to tie it all together. Carol did a similar thing about her father many years ago: http://www.designerdigitals.com/digi...a-whisper-away
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  4. #4
    Sarah I'm so sorry. It stinks. Period.

    We just had the same Thanksgiving that you described. It was the first family picture taken without my mother-in-law and it was painful. Just like you we pushed through it bouncing between laughter and tears. I say scrap them. It helped me so much. Talk about the awkward laughter and how hard it was to do all she did for you. Here is the link to our Thanksgiving. We look a lot happier in the photos than we really were. Sending you a giant hug!!!!

    We have a story about my mother-in-law and butterflies... so I often put a butterfly in a place where I feel she should be. Needless to say I use a lot of butterflies.

    http://www.designerdigitals.com/digi...2-copy&cat=502

    http://www.designerdigitals.com/digi...4-copy&cat=502


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  5. #5
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    Gosh, I love the symbolism of the butterfly, Jen!
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  6. #6
    Jen I have a friend, not a scrapper, but every time she sees a dragonfly she thinks of her sister who passed way too early. It's become her symbol (a sign if you will) a bit like your butterfly.

    Okay Sarah, gather your thoughts. You simply MUST scrap these photos. Mish mash as they were. Embrace the mish mash. Journal about the mish mash. How about even journal the page as if you were talking to your mum. It doesn't need to be a huge emotionally sobbing page, you don't have to be melancholy, as much as it's easy to slip into that place. You ARE allowed to laugh my friend. Make your journalling a letter to your mum, about the lack of photos, about the pink flamingo, about the where the heck did she hide the napkins, about how she was the glue, and although she wasn't there, you still tried, because you know that she would have wanted you to. Tell her about what you ate, and how it probably wasn't as good as her cooking. Tell her that she was missed and things will never be normal again, but you will all try and create a new type of normal.

    It's hard mate, every Christmas I go through it, but I know my dad is with me and Mike and the kids and having the time of his life watching us all together. Pretty sure your mum was there laughing at the lot of you, flamingo and all.
    Carol

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  7. So sorry for your loss, Sarah. I would definitely scrap them. I agree with all the advice above. So many of us have been through those "awkward holidays." My suggestion would just be to add a journaling block and state what you have (above) -- it's both a sad but humorous day... Good luck!
    Francine

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  8. #8
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    Thank you, everyone, for the great ideas!

    Jen, my struggle is that I have no photos. I can identify with how sad you all were---and how you weren't as happy as you looked---but you still had the strength to take photos of people. I couldn't even get my camera out! I still kick myself. I took one photo of my dad at Christmas and somehow I've lost it!

    I don't have a particular story for my mom, but I can tell some kind of story. My sister put her hand on absolutely everything in the house about a month after my mom died. They have lived in that house for 45 years and my mom really never threw anything away. They have a 1200 sq ft basement that had junk going back to the 1940s. For the last twenty years we joked with her that she would have to live forever because if she died and left us with that mess, we would hunt her down in heaven and drag her back to clean up her mess. Well, she didn't clean anything up---my sister did it. She rented a construction dumpster and cleaned. that. junk. up. I could just see my mom laughing! My sister a military-clean neat freak.

    Anyway, we touched everything and found nothing. I know she had tablecloths and napkins, we just couldn't find six of any one thing. We couldn't find the pieces to the Advent calendar---looked everywhere---until I pulled open a tiny drawer by her side of the bed, and they were stuck under a camera in a tiny little cloth bag. That's how she was.

    I guess that's the story---I will give it a try. Maybe my comical loserly photography will play into the story. And sadly, this was the first year ever I was completely responsible for a Thanksgiving meal. It was kind of depressing and stressful. I hadn't realized how much I had enjoyed doing just this or that.

    Mish-mashy page coming up. I will get this done!

    Sarah
    Equipment: Canon T2i (550D) with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, 55-250mm f/4-5.6, 50mm f/1.8, and 400mm f/5.6L lenses
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  9. #9
    I'm so sorry for your loss Sarah, and whatever you do, don't delete these pics! They are after all part of your story - an important story at that. I'd also go with a cluster of photo's and let out all your thoughts, feelings, memories, etc in your journaling. I love the idea of Jen's with the butterfly and if it were me... I'd have got a shot of your Mom's urn 'all dolled up'! It's these times in our lives that keep it real. I hope you enjoy getting this story down on a page and also find some peace in doing so. I do hope you'll share it in the gallery!
    Liz

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  10. #10
    Sarah I think I had the strength because she was my mother-in-law and not my birth mom. And, I knew deep down she (my mother-in-law) would want me taking pictures. She loved my photos. Don't blame yourself for not having the will to snap some photos.

    I think your journaling is perfect and yes your mismatch photos fit perfectly into the story. Sending thoughts and prayers as you work through the layout!


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  11. another thought...if the photos are just TOO mismatched...maybe just choose ONE good photo. don't feel the need to include *all* of them if they seem too *bleh* to you. choose ONE that you really love and then use journalling as your tool to tell the story, instead of photos. i am like you (and Jen), i want to include ALL my photos of a certain event, but sometimes (and especially when i am unhappy with my photos) i find myself overcompensating with my perceived lack of quality by adding too much quantity. are any one of those photos a real eye-catcher and one that you could scrap beautifully by itself? i think a page with photo of a cat and a title of thanksgiving would help to tell the *random* tale. just a thought.
    heather

  12. #12
    I think that urn photo says it all. "We laughed til we cried, and we cried so we could laugh." It is what it is and in time... it will be healing.
    Maureen
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  13. #13
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    Maybe your journaling is coming together via this thread?! I think the things you have said here are a great start to telling the story.

    OH! I see you have finished your page (http://www.designerdigitals.com/digi...es-without-her). It is perfect!!
    Camera: Canon 7D, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus TG2 (point and shoot)
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by maureenreynolds View Post
    I think that urn photo says it all. "We laughed til we cried, and we cried so we could laugh." It is what it is and in time... it will be healing.
    Maureen, I love that quote. I am going to tweak the journaling on my page and include that somewhere. It is perfect. We definitely had a few moments of hysterical, irrational laughing at what would never have been funny six months before. Thanks!
    Sarah
    Equipment: Canon T2i (550D) with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, 55-250mm f/4-5.6, 50mm f/1.8, and 400mm f/5.6L lenses
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  15. #15
    If they are all mismatched, I would convert all or most of them to black and white and scrapbook them. I'm sorry for your loss.
    aka Sarah

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