Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creative Influences

You've obviously read my blog. And vicariously seen some of my photography. You might not have seen my photo books, which are my newest nuisance creative outlet. I'm on my second year of "Any Place But photos." So far the readers/recipients have been my family, but they act as one more reciprocal of my travel memories year on year.

2010 Photo Book - Oregon

Growing up, I had photo albums, scrap books, and memory boxes galore! A few years ago, I approached my mom looking for a comparable compilation about my childhood - you know, photos of my first steps, my first tooth, lock of hair from my first hair cut. Alas, my hoarding collecting of memorabilia stems from my paternal side apparently. Dad keeps everything (much to the chagrin of my mother who secretly absconds with the most heinous items. Shh, don't tell!)

2011 Photo Album - Newport, RI

Given my mom's penchant for art and art history, including her own creative capacity for art, I was admittedly quite disappointed at this discovery. This emotion was exacerbated when I visited the boy's family and his father brought out EIGHT albums (a selection of the whole library) cataloging his formidable years. I was quick to share this experience with my mom, unfairly comparing it to our more limited "library" at home. "How wonderful for them!" she said. Harumph!

As such, NOTHING could have prepared me for this Christmas. (The tears are welling up as I type.) We typically open one present on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Morning. This year we had my parents, the boy, my best friend in the whole world, and her parents (also very close to our family) celebrating Christmas brunch. During brunch I had handed the boy and my parents the 2011 photo book to open, peruse, and share with the table. But the rest of the presents would be opened later.

While brunch was winding down, I saw my parents conspiring in the kitchen and before I knew it they were next to me with a stack of three presents wrapped in beautiful, shiny green paper. What were they and why was I opening them now in front of everyone?! What escaped that wrapping paper one by one were three of the most thoughtful and well done albums I could have ever asked for. My mom painstakingly researched, copied, hand wrote, organized, and collaborated with my Aunt and Father to give me my own perfectly articulated "library" of my family history and my life in photos.

All three albums

Me on the right, my mom on the left. Notice light bulb head comparison.
The first album is a photographic family history of both my maternal and paternal sides including photos of my parents and grandparents as children. It's verifiable - my light bulb shaped head comes directly from my mother (see photo.) The second album features ME from infancy to date - some less flattering images could have been "lost" but that's ok...oh those permed bangs! And the third album has photos of all the special friends that have been with my throughout my life, including one we recently lost. I thank my lucky stars that I was surrounded by the people I most love because I was blubbering through each page - so touched and emotionally overwhelmed at my mother's thoughtful and loving creation. It was the BEST. PRESENT. EVER. Thanks Mom & Dad (and Aunt Betsy.) Now I'll have to do the same some day for my (future) kids.

Mom's family including my Aunt's class photo in the center.