Well, the photobook arrived earlier this week, all pristine, clean cut, glossy and smelling like a new book should. Inside, the images and text are bright and clear. Overall, it’s everything I hoped for, and certainly looks great on my bookshelf. I’m convinced that this is a viable media for making mementos more accessible and enjoyable.
Having said that, a detailed look at the book highlighted a few points to remember for the future:
- Snapfish doesn’t provide an automatic page numbering facility so I inserted my own in a small text box at the bottom of each page. However, some were too low and only half of some page numbers got printed. Of course, this and other typos should be picked up by printing out a draft and doing a detailed check before finally submitting for printing.
- Some of the small headshot photos I included next to signatures on the retirement/leaving cards were too dark to be clear. Small headshots need to be relatively light.
- Almost all the text in the jpg page images provided for the book, appears within a very faint greyish background. It’s not particularly noticeable until you focus on it, and it doesn’t detract from the look of the book – but it’s definitely there and I don’t yet understand why.
Regarding the second of my objectives – to try and understand what to do with the physical objects that are represented in the photobook – I have gained some clear insights. The answer in brief is one of the following: destroy, re-use, display, store, or make no change. The display option emerged, at least in part, from a TV interview with Aggie MacKenzie in connection with her series on storage hoarders. One of the things she said is that you should pick out a few photos that you like and put them on the wall and enjoy them; and throw the rest away. I think the concept is ideally suited to mementos in general, though slightly modified: pick out the things that are especially valuable to you and find a way to make those physical things accessible so you can enjoy them; digitise the other material that you value and find a way to make them accessible (for example, in a photobook); then throw away all the rest. Below is a list of the items I used in my photobook and what I ended up doing with them.
|Item||Digitisation method||What I did with it afterwards|
|Leaving and retirement cards||Scanned||Destroyed and recycled|
|Retirement email messages||None required||Put in zip file and filed on PC|
|Leaving texts, poems and annotated gift wrap||Scanned||No change – retained inside the Atlas that was given to me|
|Job offer letters||Scanned||Destroyed and recycled|
|Paypacket envelopes||Scanned||Destroyed and recycled|
|Payslips||Scanned||Stored the first and last two from each job. Destroyed the rest.|
|Certificates (University Degree, Ergonomics Society award)||Scanned||No change (one in certificate file and one on the wall)|
|Special company brochures/newsletters||Scanned||Retained in display folder|
|Cosmos project brochure||Scanned||Retained in display folder|
|Reject drills and cutting bits (souvenirs from lathe job)||Photographed||Put three examples into my display cabinet and threw away the rest|
|Crystal paperweight from bid win||Photographed||Put into the crystal cabinet in the dining room|
|CSC Management principles in desk stand||Photographed and scanned||Put into loft box of old folders and desk equipment, awaiting re-use|
|CSC marketing folding block||Photographed||Put into the toybox|
|CSC logo lapel pin||Photographed||Put into my jewellery box|
|CSC Vision Card||Scanned||Destroyed and recycled|
|CSC key ring||Photographed||Put into hall drawer in case we need a keyring|
|CSC marketing peppermint dispenser||Photographed||Threw it away for recycling|
|Plastic block certificate for contributing to CSC papers||Photographed||Threw it away|
It was hard throwing away some of the things, particularly the retirement and leaving cards (some of which were over thirty years old), even though I know I’ll look at their contents in the photobook much more now than I would have before. Somehow there’s something about throwing away an original thing (I can imagine having the same pangs about deleting a special set of electronic files). I guess different people have different thresholds – but whatever your threshold is, based on my experience, there’s a little pang of regret when they go.