When it Comes to Family Legacy, Sometimes Photos don’t Tell the Whole Story.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I realized I couldn’t remember…
You may recall my previous post here on Save Family Photos where I described my dismay when realizing I couldn’t remember my grandmother’s voice when my daughter asked about her. That sadness and regret haunted me for a few weeks; then it made me determined to ensure my children aren’t left with similar regrets. You see, when it comes to family legacy, sometimes photos don’t tell the whole story.
Of course, I treasure family photos. Whether they are timeworn pictures from by-gone eras or snapshots of my own young, growing family, photographs capture memories and milestones. But I have always considered them only part of the story.
As Lexi Namer recently posted here on the Save Family Photos blog, there is an element of unreliability in personal memories triggered by family photos. Additionally, photos often just hint at the complete story. And even when they do offer evidence of events and allow glimpses of emotion, they don’t necessarily offer the depth of character or richness that I want to know about my loved ones – the elements of family members that I want to preserve for future generations.
That’s why I write detailed, lengthy journal entries capturing fleeting moments, personal inspirations and cute things my children say, as well as key milestones, trials and triumphs. I frequently interview loved ones in order to record their stories and memories. I’ve developed and fine-tuned questions and writing prompts that encourage reflection and trigger thoughtful recollection on a lifetime of lessons learned.
In fact, that’s why our team at Legacy Tale is committed to helping people capture and preserve their personal and family histories by writing their tale and printing it to be shared as a family treasure. All of our books include rich narratives of life stories as well as many photos and other family documents. And they are treasures. But when I couldn’t remember my beloved grandmother’s voice, I realized those books, full of memories and photos, still don’t tell the whole story.
Only multimedia content – rich with video and audio – can completely answer questions like, “What was her voice like?” “How did I sound when I was a baby?” or “Was Grandma really a good dancer?!”
Because of that realization, we pored through our own family archives of digital content, especially video clips. (And if your digital files are in disarray like ours were, follow these 7 steps for organizing them.) And I was shocked – truly amazed at how much I had forgotten! Despite keeping good written records and staying fairly up-to-date with photo books, we had forgotten key elements.
I believe there’s a lot of life that’s not told by a two-dimensional photo, or even by written words. I had forgotten the sounds of my children’s laughter. I had forgotten the cadence of their toddling, two-year-old voices. I had forgotten the details about my grandmother playing hopscotch at age 97 with my kids. Photos of the exact moments, even with descriptive narratives, simply don’t tell the whole story.
And so that’s the moment when we decided to do something different. That’s when we knew we needed to create something new. That’s the moment when Legacy Tale’s new breed of book™ was born. Beloved family photos and narratives of sweet memories are artfully combined with video and audio accessed within a beautiful heirloom book. Finally, I have a book around which my family gathers and remembers not just how the people we love looked at a certain time, but also how they sounded – from the inflections in their voices to their laughter.
So now my children will remember.
Family photos are a representation of a beloved person, an important memory, and a place in time. Video and audio media can add a whole new dimension to family history. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video of precious loved ones must be worth a billion! Our new breed of book™ allows our family to really remember. We hope it will do the same for you, and would love your input to help guide future development of interactive family history books. Let us know what features and services you’d like to see.
If you’d like to join us in creating a new kind of family history book, please take this short survey and test a sample book online. We’d love to hear from you!
You make memories. We make them last.
About the author: Hilarie H. Robison, M.A., founder of LegacyTale.
Hilarie is a writer who believes in leaving a legacy of faith for loved ones. With a graduate degree in policy, she spent many years using words professionally to change public policy and opinion, to train and motivate and educate. At best, those words sometimes inspired. Yet they didn’t leave the meaningful legacy she craved. Now she helps others use words in giving meaning to a life well-lived, to help good people recall the past and reflect on the present, to capture and preserve tales of legacy. You can get more great tips from Hilarie and the team at LegacyTale by following them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.