Photo Storytelling on the Holidays

By Maureen A. Taylor

This week I took another look at all my family photos and was suddenly struck by a realization. My family takes pictures in the spring and summer. There are few images of autumn and fewer still of winter snow. We’re warm weather photographers.

Documenting This Year’s Thanksgiving/Hanukkah

This year I aim to turn that tide by taking a few pictures. In documenting the present I’m preserving it for future generations. While I’ll be busy in the kitchen, I’m going to assign a shot list to someone in the family. I’ll start with the following:

  • A picture of family members arriving
  • An image of the kitchen preparations.
  • The family gathered around the turkey and trimmings
  • Pictures of attendees in small groups–parents, children and cousins.

I’m thinking of buying a prop or two for fun. How about a Pilgrim style hat or bonnet? I might be able to encourage everyone to pose wearing it. Then again…maybe not.

  • What are you going to take pictures of this Thanksgiving/Hanukkah?

Documenting the Past

A shared meal is a great time to share stories and photo. Armed with my iPad “Voice Recorder” app, I’m going to record those tales. (Of course, it’s possible to do this recording using my phone too, but I like my iPad.)

I’m thinking of decorating the table with baby or childhood photos of the family in attendance. This ought to get them talking <smile>.

Photo storytelling starts with questions. Back when I was in elementary school, I had an English teacher who drilled into us the five basic questions to use to build a story: who, what, where, when and how.

I’ll bring out some other old family photos and see what happens.

  • Do you have any tips for getting family members to share family history?

I’ll let you know what happens.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!

Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album