Telling stories through photos

If ever there were a reason to be diligent about placing photographs into an album, it would be to preserve family history for generations to come. Every photo has a story to tell.

A newborn's smile, a child's first hit in a baseball game, graduation, engagements, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries are very special times for family history. Preserving them in picture form is a wonderful way to tell a story for those who take the time to do it.

Helping area residents preserve and journal their family photos is Creative Memories consultant Rhonda Price, who Monday held a workshop for would-be scapbookers in her Carson home.

"The most important reason to keep photos safe in an album is to have something to pass on to future generations," said Price, 36.

"What are you going to do, pass a CD to your kids and say, 'Here's your grandparents'? And kids love to be involved. They love looking at their own albums.

"If you don't journal your own photos, who will? It's good to have pictures for our own kids to look back at. It generates the positive in all of us."

Price has been a consultant for five years. She said nearly anything can be journaled and preserved in a photo album. Her own albums include her husband's racing history, her children's birthdays, sporting events and family photos. Her 9-year-old daughter Shelby has created her own album and one for her cousin, Hunter.

Peggy Madeira of Carson City brought family photos kept in an album with yellowing pages that were becoming very brittle to Monday's workshop for help.

"These photos here are of my great-grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Jones," said Madeira, as she carefully peeled a photo from the old album.

Price showed her how to crop photos and trim the corners, giving the photo a softer look. The next step was to journal, by writing directly on the page, who was in the photo and when and where it was taken.

"Journaling is the most important thing," Price said.

"No journaling, no history. You may as well put them (photos) in a thrift store."

The pages can be completed with borders, stickers and other fun artwork.

Price said the most common mistake about photo keeping is the type of albums people choose to keep their photos in. Album types not good for photos are magnetic, spiral bound and slip pocket type. Most of them contain pages with a high acid content and other materials not good for photos.

"You want pages that are acid and lignin free. Acid eats photos eventually. Lignin is found in tree pulp and is high in acid content. Lignin also causes discoloration," she said.

"Buffered paper, as found in Creative Memories albums, maintains its whiteness. It has a neutralizing effect to protect photos from pollutants from the outside environment or acidic greeting cards. The company uses a ph-balanced chemistry that does not accelerate natural deterioration of photos."

Creative Memories, based in St. Cloud, Minn., has been in business 15 years. It recently added a plant in Sparks to make photo albums. All products sold by the company are exclusive.

Price's best advice to those trying to save family history in photos is, if you can't do scrapbooks, preserve your photos in a safe environment. A shoe box will work just as well for short-term safe keeping.

"When you buy and album, think about the quality," said Price. "You get what you pay for."

It does help to have your photos in chronological order, which is the easiest way to get started, and Price says to start simple, don't overwhelm yourself.

"It's a fun job, I'm hooked for life. This is something for kids of all ages," she said.

Creative Memories can be found on the Internet at, or call (800) 341-5275 or Price at 885-9751.


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