Scrapbooks: How to decide what goes in?

I recently decided to get my scrapbook in shape. I bought it years ago, full of I-want-to-document-my-history zeal, but I had barely bothered to fill up more than a handful of pages before this burst of activity. It’s coming along pretty well, particularly the section containing old press passes from when I was a sports journalist.

As I’ve been sifting through all of the loose old pictures that I have, naturally I come across people who were fairly significant in my life, but who I really don’t like very much anymore.

I’m not looking for a right or wrong answer, but I’m curious to hear how other people decide whether or not to include mementos of things they might not necessarily want to remember – an ex-girlfriend, a really lousy haircut, whatever. I mean irritations, not truly awful things, like if you had pictures of that time when your family was eaten by wolves; that would pretty obviously NOT go in.

Do you tend to err on the side of historical completeness or on the side of I-don’t-need-to-remember-THAT?

Funny you should post this, b/c I was just whining the other day about this very topic. I’ve gotten criminally behind in my photo album (it’s in scrapbook format but it’s 95% pictures with dates/notes in the margins) and now it’s gotten to the point that I don’t know how much to include for the sake of historical accuracy, vs. do-we-really-need-to-see-that-in-the-album. I’m studying photography as a career, so I take a boatload of pictures, too.

Like, for instance, my best friend’s wedding a year and a half ago; I was a bridesmaid and I took tons of really cool pictures, as did Mr. Levins.

She’s divorcing him next month…and I’m the one who talked her into leaving the jackass so there’s no love lost here.

So…what the hell?

I think I’m going to only include the pictures of the bride and her maids…the ones of The Girls sans the groom. I really don’t want to take up five pages of my scrapbook with pictures of an asshole who’s history now.

But what about my other best girlfriend Vanessa? The one who always “commissions” me to take pictures of her and The New Love Of Her Life? She’s gone through two already and now she wants me to photograph #3. I’m very proud of my photographs, and Vanessa looks beautiful in these pictures, and none of these guys were assholes or anything. It just didn’t work out.

So what do I do with those? They’re history; I’ll never see these guys again and Vanessa herself has thrown away or stored the pictures indefinitely.

So either Vanessa thinks I’m being insensitive because all her ex-boyfriends are prominently displayed in my photo albums (and I keep my photo albums on a shelf under my coffee table because I enjoy sharing them, and her boyfriends do come over to my house), or I have to edit history and a lot of cool photography.

I also have this problem with cool pictures of coworkers in jobs I quit, people I don’t really care if I ever see again, people who were friends that didn’t work out, etc., etc…


The only given is that if I look really bad in any picture, it doesn’t go in the album; I’ll cut myself out if necessary. I usually respect friends’ wishes on this as well, even if I disagree; if they absolutely hate the picture I won’t put it in the album. Life’s too short to keep evidence of the world’s worst hair day, or the mother of all zits, or whatever.

The rest of it…I guess I’ll figure it out when I get to that “segment.”

Mine basically started out as a photo album, but I became so taken with the verb “scrapbooking” that I added the collection of press passes so that it would qualify as a scrapbook. And even though that’s kind of an idiotic reason, I’m glad I was swayed by it, because it’s nice to have all of those various passes – 49ers games, Raiders games, Stanford sports, Women’s World Cup and even the opening of the Giants’ Pac Bell Park – in one place.

I love taking pictures, but I went digital a couple of years ago, so at least I don’t have to worry about amassing even MORE prints that need to be scrapbooked. (Oooh, I love that verb!)

I made it easy by having a couple different scrapbooks.

One is all my “old” family (from great-grandparents through my childhood), one is hobby type stuff (photos of my artwork, pretty paper projects I did on a whim, that sort of thing), one is a wedding album, one is a baby album of my daughter from birth to age ten, another in progress from ten to whenever it’s full, one is all vacations and parties with friends.

For the couples-who-are-no-more, I usually find good photos of whoever is still around, mount and “book” them, and keep their exes in a nice little photo box.

Put whatever makes you happy into your books…

I too have a bunch of books. A book for each kid, one for my wedding, a monopoly one, a pet one, a cake one … you get the idea :slight_smile:

If you take a lot of pictures you could always make one into a portfolio book. Then the pictures will be there for their technical quality more than the dating status of the subjects.

Also, while scrapbooking is fun - try to focus more on the purpose of the album than all the little fad gizmos to put in them.

So, uh, what goes into the Monopoly book? Transcripts of memorable games?

Pictures of the games in my collection - I have over 100… also pictures of the non game stuff in my collection. I really need to update my website!

I also have a copy of the patent for the game, the collector sheet of stamps the USPS put out, the hacked box of monopoly cereal from the box I ate (yuck) cancelled stock certificates from the railroads the game is based on, cartoons I saved where people were playing monopoly … stuff like that :slight_smile:

Ah yes…the memories that should be included, but that I don’t want “in my face” when I’m leafing through my scrapbook. My solution: envelopes.

I choose a few neutral pictures (and I toss the ones that really give my bad memories everytime I see them) and put them in an open envelope. Then, I glue the backflap of the envelope (where you would normally write the sender’s adress) in my scrapbook. On the envelope I write a neutral reminder such as: “Jeanie’s marriage 10/10/92” or “first job at company X, 1995”.

If I want to see the pics, I have to lift the envelope and take the pics out. Otherwise, I just turn the page.
The advantage over keeping them in a separate box is that with the envelope-method the pics don’t get lost and they are in their proper timeline-place.

That also works for slightly private pics, pics that would cause too much questions. “You were on a holiday with this guy, instead of your BF?”. Inthat case, I sort-of hide the pics in an envelope under another picture (a map, for instance).

The envelope way is also a good way to prevent the scrapbook from getting boring. Those who want to see the holiday pics open the envelope. Those who don’t want to see all of them just turn the page to another subject, instead of having to wade through three more pages.

My scrapbooks are mostly chronological, but I’ve made a few double page spreads that collect various photos on a theme. Some of my themes are normal, like “Christmas” or “Summer Vacation,” with pictures from all different years.

This is also my solution to some of those trickier scrapbooking issues. I have a “Bad Hair Hall of Shame” that features terrible hair cuts over the years. There is also a “Rogues’ Gallery” that is made up of the ghosts of couples past – all the way back to junior high. IMHO, I take the “sting” out of some of these pictures by being sure to always include my own bad hair and bad ex-boyfriends, and adding some light-hearted captions (caution: I think my captions are hilarious, YMMV, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve offended anyone yet – I have had some nights sitting around with the girls looking at the books and we are just falling down laughing at some of the guys we saw fit to date :slight_smile: )