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words + photos : monday

Hello words + photos.
For me, this is really the heart of scrapbooking. When I look back through all my layouts the ones I love the most are the simple ones that really focus on just the photos + the words. As so many of us know, it is way too easy to get caught up in the latest & greatest product, the desire for more, and never feeling like you have "just the right thing" to complete your project.

This week I am going to consider the following: What if I used all my creative energy towards the words + the photos and forgot about the rest of the stuff for one week? Imagine if all that creative strength went into my story (or the way I take my photos) rather than worrying about matching patterned paper and choosing embellishments?

What if I just told the darn story?

Is it still scrapbooking if no "extra-stuff" is present? Of course it is.

Now there should be no doubt that I love to play with products. I love to be inspired by new (and old) stuff and enjoy the creative process of working with patterns and embellishments. By taking a week out to focus on the words + photos I am challenging myself to really pay closer attention to the way in which I tell my stories.

Want to play along?

To begin this week I want to introduce you to my favorite layout. What I love most about it is that it completely tells a story from point A to point B. There is a balance between the words + photos and the only other product on the page are some chipboard letters.

Pmroutine_low_2

[ from my book Life Artist ]

I love this layout for the design and the concept. It is organized and graphic. There is nothing extra distracting from the subject at hand. The photos show a variety of different angles and distances. These photos are not perfect (especially the one of the three of us which was taken while holding my arm out and pointing down) but they capture our routine authentically and accurately. The colors, the chaos, the winding down, the emotion - it's all there in the photos with support coming from the words.

This is a layout I will look back on in ten years and treasure.

Another thing I love about the above layout is that it is a concept that can be repeated. If I was to complete another page on this same theme this week the story would be similar but different. The PJ's are different now (he has outgrown all the matching sets and now wears big boy pants + white t-shirts to bed), he is doing more things on his own, etc. This is an evolving story. A part of our story I want to tell.

Dottedline_2

Here's another favorite from a few years back:

Boots_both

[ from my book A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking ]

Again, the focus is on the photos and the words. The photos are the "decoration" as well as the content. They could tell almost as much of the story even without the words. Choosing which photos to take and which to use (and/or enlarge) are a big part of the way in which I tell my stories.

The enlarged photo of the boots was printed on cardstock and the title was added in Photoshop.

Dottedline_3

And here's a new layout using 4x6 photos:

Washingtondc2007_2

Each photo was printed using the "white border" option on my small portable Kodak printer. The words for this layout came directly from a blog post back in February 2007. As you may be able to see, I took photos of photos and photos of displays (as well as of the monuments + friends). So many things to capture in DC.

Again the emphasis here is on the photos + the words with just a bit of patterned paper and embellishments - those extras were added mainly because I had left too small of a space for any white bordered photos to fit where the "travel log" embellishment piece was placed.

I created variety with the photos by not lining them all up from one level to another. Also notice that there are no white borders around any of the edges of the layout - any photo that came in contact with the edge had the white border removed along that line.

Over the next couple of days I will go into more detail about the way I choose my photos and the way I choose my words. Come by tomorrow for my philosophy on taking photos and some fun ways to play with printing your photos (and a cool giveaway).

Dottedline

[ The full words + photos series can be found here: monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday. ]

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84 thoughts

  1. annie says…
    05/05/2008

    Ali, I love this concept. It's inspiring (and manageable!)to think in terms of photos and words. Love it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Helene says…
    05/05/2008

    hi, it's so true, we get caught in a consumer race for latest products, and forget the most important part; thre most important for me anyway : why I scrap, the story I want to remember, and share ! Eager to read tomorrow's post ! have a nice day !

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Leslie says…
    05/05/2008

    THanks for reminding us of why we're scrappin and for the inspiration!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Ida says…
    05/05/2008

    You're so right Ali! This is what I try to explain to my fellow friends. Now I can direct them to your blog. Kudos!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. sue says…
    05/05/2008

    I'm really looking forward to this week and after looking over your blog post this morning, I know I'm not going to be disappointed. I love words and combining them with the photos looks great. Thank you and keep 'em coming!
    Sue

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. noell says…
    05/05/2008

    I love your weekly idea and I'm excited to see how it plays out and to follow you as you go in-depth with a topic each time.
    I was so curious to hear more specifics of how you were enlightened when you pulled out all your layouts a while back to rearrange them. I'm guessing that the decision (or confirmation) of which layout and which type of layout was your favorite came from that experience.
    One thought I've always had as I look through your layouts is how specific you get with your everyday layouts for Simon. I find that I can do this for layouts for myself. And I've done it a little for my youngest who is mostly home with me. But it seems a little daunting to try to do this for all three of my kids. It seems it will be harder to get the intimacy with a night-routine, for example, because there are three of them.
    But I've been revving up to do it anyway: to go capture both the group routines and the individual ones. This post is a nice kick in the pants to start working harder to do that.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. amber says…
    05/05/2008

    This is really exciting to me. I enjoy scrapbooking and all the fun little things that go along with it but all that fun can get in the way of documenting what is truly important sometimes. I've been feeling overwhelmed w/what I'd like to get done w/my pics before baby #2 makes her appearance. This is going to give me the right direction. Can't wait to see what's next! As always, thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. kitty whitlow says…
    05/05/2008

    Oh Ali, thanks so much for sharing this. Can immediately think of 2 pages I want to create right now using this method. Looks like a great way to incorporate more of my pictures into a layout instead of the one photo that I usually use.
    Thanks for sharing this concept I can't wait to see more.
    Kitty

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Amy says…
    05/05/2008

    I always think this same thing when people say to me, can you teach me how to scrapbook. And I think, what do you need to really learn? You take photos and you add words, it's that simple. My grandmother was a scrapbooker and she never saw an embellishment in her life. Her albums are still cherished and read and re-read. I think people make scrapbooking into some sort of science when it's really very simple. Thanks for the reminder! And I love the layouts!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Artful Yogi says…
    05/05/2008

    Fabulous!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Suzanne says…
    05/05/2008

    What a great idea. Sometimes I feel my pages are incomplete if I dont put many embellishments on them. Also such a simple approach makes scrapbooking less intimidating.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Cinnibonbon says…
    05/05/2008

    Woohoo..thanks for this. I just spent the weekend wishing for more embellies (LOL). I know it's not neceassy, yet I can't get past the latest craze. You've sparked a great notion, yet again!! Thanks

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Ady Abreu says…
    05/05/2008

    I will definitely playing with you this week. I have a lot of wonderful photos that tell a story but because I'm one to always need that perfect paper to go with the pictures that I'm forgetting to just tell the story. I will play tonight. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Ady Abreu says…
    05/05/2008

    I will definitely playing with you this week. I have a lot of wonderful photos that tell a story but because I'm one to always need that perfect paper to go with the pictures that I'm forgetting to just tell the story. I will play tonight. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Molly says…
    05/05/2008

    I will be joining you too, Ali.
    I've been considering my approach pretty carefully lately, and have concluded that I intend to do just this type of "scrapbooking."
    My motivation is not (and never has been) to be published, [although I reserve the right to change my mind. ha ha. ] But rather, to create keepsake books that go beyond a typical photo album by providing more perspective through words.
    Thank you again for being such a thought-leader in this industry and keeping the focus REAL.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Michele Attaway says…
    05/05/2008

    Agreed!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. kate says…
    05/05/2008

    While we all love the embellishments, the words and the photos tell the story. It's nice to get back to basics, thank you

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Farrah says…
    05/05/2008

    I haven't scapbooked in so long its not even funny. This is just the inspiration I need to get started again. Thanks for the reminder of what its really all about :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Sarah Heroman says…
    05/05/2008

    love it.
    need it.
    anticipating.
    thanks.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Mary says…
    05/05/2008

    This is exactly what I am needing right now. I think this approach also helps us chronological scrappers to get and stay "caught up" which will free up our thoughts and energy to do those artistic LO's we really want and need to do from time to time.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Angi Smith says…
    05/05/2008

    We are a family of three, like you are. I envy your ability to take shots of the three of you. I have a SLR and I just cannot get it turned around to get a self-portrait of us like you do. I love the Night, Night page, too, by the way. It makes one feel as if one is a part of it or looking on.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Jen says…
    05/05/2008

    Thank you, I have felt disenchanted with scrapbooking lately and I think you've made me realize why. I love this concept!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. cindy b says…
    05/05/2008

    AWESOME! This is gonna be a great week!! thank SO MUCH Ali!! peace and blessings, Cindy

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. RUTH ALLMART says…
    05/05/2008

    Ali- I love this concept. I look forward to following your blog entries this week. How fun :o)

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Michelle says…
    05/05/2008

    I've been very into just the photos and story lately. And I've been making my favorite projects and pages in a long time! I think simple can still be very beautiful.

    Reply 0 Replies

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