In a past life, I sold gently used items on Ebay. The big part of my success came from learning how to stage photos. There was always much discussion among the other full and part time sellers about how to use a camera, set up a shot and attract more eyes to product through good photography and editing. It’s skill that’s translated well into the the hobby of digital scrapbooking.
I put my skills to work taking staged still life photos in order to create a page for today’s GIS blog post. The page is about the stories associated with two items I inherited from my dad’s mother. I like oral histories and this page definitely captures a piece of my family’s history.
(Supplies: Creashens: Summerific- Papers, Elements, Markers; Fonts: Pea Foodie Crush, Things We Said)
You have to read the article for my tips on staging a photo.
I don’t know how old the sugar bowl is, but I suspect the necklace is anywhere from the 1940s-to the 1970s. My grandmother was from a very large family (she’s one of 12 or so kids). Two of my grandmother’s unmarried (a detail my mom found important to tell me) went to China where they purchased this necklace. This occurred either right before China’s institution of communism and no trade or after China opened it’s borders again. My great aunts were born late 1890s to early 1900s. My mom seems to think that the beads are some sort of ancient Chinese relic that peasants looted in order create cheap necklaces to make money off of poor Western tourists. (I inherited my imagination from my mom) Even not being ancient, the necklace has physical and sentimental value. It’s not worn… and probably never will be because I’m too clumsy. I really like that it now shines on this page.
The sugar bowl doesn’t have a specific story. It’s crystal and part of a larger set that my mom has currently. It also has a chip in it. I was close to my grandmother until she began suffering from dementia, which caused her to forget who I was. A year before that happened (she must have known she’d forget), she made a huge deal about my mom taking home the set to make sure it’s passed on to me. My grandparents married during The Great Depression and looking back, I know it stuck with them. As a kid, I remember their furniture was covered in protective plastic even though it was about 30 years old. Everything was so practical and plain. I can only imagine what it was like for her to acquire something like this… <—See, this is an oral history!
Instead of doing a formal or heritage page, I decided to use a really playful kit that had some vintage touches. I wanted to capture the wonder, whimsy and romanticism of the stories that come along with heirlooms. We all have those oral stories, I think, that are embellished to capture our interest and make us want to pass the stories on to the next generation. I kept the design simple and embellishments minimal to help the photos shine. Speaking of shine- the glitter bits add texture and sparkle appropriate for subject. This is probably one of my favorite pages to date and story I’m so glad to have documented. And I think my grandmother would approve…
Bottom line: A staged photo is a powerful photography tool anyone can do. Take your precious stuff into good light and snap a million photos to capture those oral histories.