Black and White

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

"If you don't recount your family history, it will be lost. Honour your own stories and tell them, too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are."
— Madeleine L'Engle

After Jordan and I travelled to France in September 2010, I compiled our best pictures in a photo book. This probably should have taken me a day or two, but instead, I spent weeks making sure each photo was perfectly edited, captioned, and placed in the correct order. I tried at least a dozen cover images before I found one I was pleased with.

I loved this process so much, that it inspired me to create a photo book filled with the photos, poems, newspaper clippings, and documents that I took from my grandmother's apartment after she died in 2008. I've spent hours looking at shoeboxes full of photos, trying to recognize the faces and places, wishing my grandma was still here to give me answers to my growing list of questions.

Each day I’m uncovering new treasures that I didn’t know I had, like poems written by my grandfather who passed away before I was born, including one that my grandmother kept in her wallet until the day she died. I’ve even unleashed a few family secrets when scouring old documents on Ancestry.ca, including a marriage record from my great grandfather’s first marriage that tragically ended when his bride died of an embolism when she was only my age.

My goal is to finish this project by the summer, when one of my cousins is getting married. It’s ambitious, because there really are hundreds or even thousands of photos, but after a few false starts, this time I'm commited!

My editorial assistant, Ben.

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