How to Bring Back the Tradition of Vintage Family Photo Albums, with a Modern Twist!
Many of my fondest memories of my childhood took place at my grandmother’s house. Each weekend, my entire family would descend upon her home to enjoy each other’s company and a home-cooked meal. It’s been almost nine years since I lost my grandmother; there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her fondly and miss our family gatherings. That’s why I cherish the many family photos I have. They allow me to remember the unique experience of family gatherings over the years. So this past holiday season, I did something a little different. And by doing something different, I learned how to bring back the tradition of vintage family photo albums, with a modern twist!
I invited my entire family to my home, where I cooked many of my grandmother’s traditional dishes. I wanted to create an experience much like what I remembered from my youth – all of us gathered in one place, sharing stories and making memories.
One of our favorite family traditions has always been to pull out family photo albums from under the coffee table to reminisce about days past. From bell bottoms to big hair, we would laugh at poor fashion decisions and goofy haircuts. We could sit for hours looking and listening – each series of family photos sparked stories. There were stories of vacations we had long forgotten and rich history of family members we had never met.
I often think it’s those hours I spent looking at those albums where I felt the first call to my life’s passion: photography. But that’s another story.
For this family gathering, I decided to bring back that tradition of perusing old albums but with a new twist. It was really important to me that my grandmother’s presence be felt. She had been the glue of our family unit. For weeks I combed through our family albums, scanning photos of my grandmother through the ages. I took special care to include all of of the highlights of her life, as well as photos with each family member. With every scan, I remembered the stories about that day, who the people were and what was happening. My plan was to organize the images into a video slideshow in order to gather everyone around the family album again.
Shortly before dinner, I brought everyone into the family room for a surprise – the unveiling of my video.
As it played, we laughed and cried and laughed some more. We must’ve watched it a dozen times. The video was a huge hit! And just as I had hoped, we then sat around the dinner table and shared stories and special memories of my grandmother and days gone by.
It truly was a glorious event that I know my grandmother would have been loved. She would have laughed right alongside all of us. My uncle summed the evening up as he said goodbye…
It was just like being at Mom’s again. Thanks Beth, for a wonderful trip down memory lane! That’s the power of photographs; they’re a reminder not only of the past, but of the future that past generations have enabled us to have.
So next time you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate a loved one, remember favorite family stories or memorialize a family member who is no longer with us, consider creating a short video. By scanning some vintage family photos and putting together a little film, I truly discovered how to bring back the tradition of vintage family photo albums, with a modern twist.
Ready to create your own family video? The first step is choosing photos! With a few simple tips, you can curate your family photos like a professional editor.
About the author: Beth Forester is an educator, artist, wife, and mother who loves to photograph people. She discovered her love for photography when her daughter, Katherine, was born. Katherine became her muse and, as she captured the beautiful expressions and precious moments of this tiny new person in her life, Beth realized that photography was the best medium to remember the important people and the once-in-a-lifetime moments that occur in our lives each and every day.
Inspired by her own story, Beth opened a portrait studio, Forester Photography, in her hometown of Madison, West Virginia, and began documenting the lives of others through photography. Her perceptions as a mother translate well into her portrait work in the studio, using her own experience to capture the perfect photograph for each family.
After twenty years of documenting people’s lives through photography, Beth has joined the team at Animoto, where she is helping people to capture, preserve, and share their own memories through video.