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Get More Info From Your Photos

Look with “new eyes” to get more info from your photos.

“Where  do I find more details for my memoir?” you ask. “I remember a lot and I’ve done my Memory List, but where are the small stuff I need to ground my memoir—and possibly provide new insights?”

The answer is in your photos.

When you are working on your memoir, you will find that scrutinizing your photos to be an excellent way of making your story more insightful and interesting.

1. Choose a number of photos.

These should be of one period or one theme of your memoir. Scrutinize them for answers to the following questions. Jot down the answers for adding to your Memory List.

  • What do the backgrounds in the photos tell us about the people in the photos?
  • What are their income levels? their tastes? their educations? their religious practices?
  • What do the things you see in the photograph tell you about their daily life? Be sure to take into account such features as dress, shoes, eyeglasses, pets, yards, cars, neighborhoods, toys.
  • Are there members of the family or other people missing from the photos who, you think, should be there? Why do you think (or know) they are not there?
  • By the way people are standing together or apart, turned toward or away from each other, can you “see” something significant about their relationships?

2. Be a detective.

look at each photo and ask any and every question. What happened before and after the photo was taken? Why did these people come together for this occasion?

3. Search for hidden elements.

These are features you had not noticed before even in recent photographs. Also ask yourself what the photos would tell you about yourself or your family if you were a stranger looking at them.

4. Note your feelings that emerge from viewing these photos.

How do they inform you about yourself or the people shown? Linger to get more info from your photos.

Action Step

Repeat this exercise to get more info from your photos and use your “new eyes” to find the hidden elements in every photo pertaining to your memoir. Scrutinize these photos for answers to the above questions. Make new notes on your Memory List.

At the Memoir Network, we call this work with photos “photo scribing.” We have a book—The Photo Scribe / How to Write the Stories Behind Your Photographs—as well as photoscribing packages for scrapbookkers and scrapbookking teachers Buy what you need from our list of photoscribing products to work with your photos in a more organized and insightful manner


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