Book Review: Photo Freedom, by Stacy Julian


 Stacy Julian’s scrapbooking philosophy, first laid out in Big Picture Scrapbooking, is simple: It’s not about getting it done. It’s about telling the stories. That makes a lot of sense to me, even though I spent many years trying to “catch up.” I finally realized (and some of you may have heard me say this!) that you’ll never be caught up unless you stop taking pictures, which I don’t recommend.


In her second book, Stacy goes on to describe, very specifically, the organizational system that allows her to tell the stories, rather than just scrapbook her pictures. She calls her system the “Library of Memories.” She has several stages she takes her photos through after they’re developed, including sliding them into storage binders (regular slide-in photo albums), sorting them into category drawers (for photos sorted by a variety of categories), library albums (for completed layouts), a memorabilia file (for those bits and pieces of life you want to save but often aren’t sure what you want to do with), and (she’s not done yet!) cold storage (photos you have no plans to scrap soon but don’t want to toss) and square punch drawers (she punches faces out of photos she’d otherwise throw away, and often uses them for mini books and the like).


Using these strategies for sorting her photos, Stacy is able to make connections between photos that she would never see if she scrapped chronologically. You might find photos of your son on his birthday every year, and put together a “through the years” page. Or perhaps you find you’ve taken a photo of the kids in front of the house every year on the first day of school—these make a perfect mini book that shows how they’ve grown, how their first-day fashions have changed, and even what lunchboxes were en vogue.


The great thing about this approach, when you’re freed from chronological scrapbooking, is that you can see patterns and relationships that wouldn’t be obvious if you were just trying to get “caught up.” Stacy gives a host of examples from her own scrapbooks, as well as short interviews with others who have adopted the “Library of Memories” approach. I found the idea both inspiring and stress-relieving; I can tell my stories simply and easily, without pressure! What a great gift. I know this is a book I’ll refer to again and again as I begin to create my own Library of Memories.



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