A few years back a friend said to me that paper was dead. We have all this wonderful technology – all books will be digital and paper will soon be redundant. I couldn’t agree less. There’s nothing to beat snuggling up on a comfy sofa with a much-loved book, running your fingers over the paper and turning each page. It might be an old photo album full of fading photographs of great and even great-great-grandparents, a novel, a book of poetry, a family bible or a journal. Words and images on paper – why would we ever want to be without that magic.
My special books are albums & books full of photographs of my parents, my children, grandchildren, weddings, Christmases with the family, holidays and my friends. I’ve been making photo books for many years now, and a couple of years ago I decided to make one using photos of the flowers and plants in my garden. It seemed logical to get those favourite plants, photos and moments into a sturdy book of garden memories.
I know that some people are happy to keep photographs on phones and on media cards, on tablets and computers but nothing gives me more pleasure than turning mine into a book of my own that I can browse through during cold winter months when the garden, like me, is mostly in hibernation.
In winter, when it’s too cold or stormy or snowy to go outside, you’ll find me happily spending long hours at my computer, moving digital photographs into software that will be uploaded to a website where it will find its way to the print department. Once I’ve clicked ‘upload’ and ‘pay, I know that approximately 10 days later my book will arrive from the Netherlands. As the delivery day draws closer I find it really hard to stop myself from going to the window umpteen times to watch for the delivery van drawing up at the door.
In a way, the photo book is a type of journal, a reminder of favourite plants and shots. Some plants are still growing in the garden, others have vanished or been moved elsewhere in the borders, and it’s always nice to have a visual reminder of them. The book will mean little to anyone else, but to me, in the same way that my family photos are precious, this book is also a little part of my own family history.
I’d love to be able to persuade more people to take their photos off their devices and turn them into a real, touchable product, something that can be passed on through generations. Once Christmas is over, I’ll start another and, since many of my favourites are already on Six on Saturday, choosing should take less time this year.
Perhaps in many years to come a great-great-great-grandchild will have one of my books in their hands and say, “Hey look here, this was our great-great-great-Gran’s garden. Cool”. 😊