My father! I created this image for my Album of Memories after he died. I achieved the effect by pasting his photo in the window of a magazine image.

My materal grandparents

Portrait Writing - Photography Project

A segment on television caught my attention. It traced a Greek-Australian photographer who began working on a photographic project. The project simply involved taking photographs of her family. Gradually it grew and a historian and cameraman became involved and expanded the brief. Her work has become a significant part of the history of Greek migration to Australia.

The relevance to us is that it demonstrates just how a project can gather momentum and take us further than we at first may have anticipated. Sadly many people want to begin at the end - with the finished product and the accolades.The team I refer to have been working for years and as the photographer said, 'never a day goes past without thinking about what' I 'can do' to expand it.

So I gathered together some of the photos that I am very fond of and have begun a mini project of my own. The next step for me will be to interview some of these people and gather material about those who have died. 

To start your project you can gather together some existing photos or go out with your camera (disposable cameras are relatively inexpensive) and take some everyday shots of your family and friends. Perhaps you can catch them in their workplace, doing chores around the house or sitting in a familiar chair. If your native land is far away you can perhaps collect photos of your national group as they fitted into a new environment.
Once you have gathered your photographs use John Suler's family history interview sheet gather some memories and stories to tell. Once you have done this you can write up a report as a narrator or write using the individuals own voice.To see some samples of the finished product look at Grandma Cooks which has some lovely samples of stories that have can be passed down. 
Having gathered everything make a scrapbook/album to store your photographs and writing in. Apart from affirming your ancestory this project will nourish your sense of self and give you a clear idea of how you fit in and to whom you belong. So enjoy and make sure you preserve your memories! 

More Activities

Self Portraiture Exercises
Indian War Bonnet

The BookDepository 

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