Tag Archives: photoshop

::a memorable Christmas gift::

Any time I receive an envelope with “DO NOT BEND” posted on the front and back I know it’s going to be something good.  It usually means photographs are inside! A few weeks ago I got one such envelope from a friend and client who is having me put together a Christmas gift for her Dad- a collection of family history collages.

We’re still debating what exactly to turn this into- maybe just 4 or 5 pieces to print and hang collage style on his walls, or possibly a short album… even without deciding entirely I started on creating the pieces.

Photographs like these just mesmerize me. The tones, colors, and expressions of the past represented are all hauntingly beautiful reminders of why I’m so glad I do what I do. Taking a photograph preserves so much- memories, people, lifestyles, fashion, environment, personalities, change.

Even simple things hardly preserved like a loved one’s written words and handwriting. My Grandma always writes on the back of her photographs just like this person did and seeing her writing, reflecting on her effort to record family times is powerful. I decided to scan in the back of these photographs and use it as part of the actual pieces.

My goal in creating these pieces is to present the viewer with several outlets for experiencing this memory… the photograph, artistic and aesthetic creation, and the handwriting of a loved one.  I have a few ideas spinning to create even more ‘memory outlets’ out of each piece which I’ll hopefully develop into concrete ideas.

The first piece is complete (above) and I can’t wait to see how the rest of these pieces turn out.  Can a Christmas gift be more meaningful and memorable?



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::a dress to remember::

It’s been such a solid week of editing, working on new project ideas, finishing up unpacking, starting a new job, and lots of other craziness that I almost forgot to blog something special! At the beginning of the summer I posted about sharon’s dress.  When Sharon got married last year, she wore the very same dress her mother wore in 1968.  Sharon had it updated and added a few finishing touches but it still had the same elegance and delicate beauty as when her Mom wore it.

For the project, Sharon and I met for a brief photoshoot. We took a few pictures of her in the dress, I took a few detail shots of the dress, and then I went to work, scanning in the photograph of her parents from their wedding day, editing the pictures from our shoot, and scanning and touching up a journal entry Sharon received from her mother that talked about the dress. I combined all of these elements into one large piece that Sharon had printed and will hang in her home and is also giving as a gift to her mother.

If you have any ideas for some digital collage work, please contact me.  All of the pieces I do are a combined effort with you to ensure your memories are displayed exactly as you want them.  I’m willing to do an entire book (like the one I did for my Grandparents which I’ll be sharing with you in another post), a collection of pieces, or just one piece you can share like I did for Sharon. Old letters, documents, photographs, or even raw materials (think a lace handkerchief of your great great grandmothers) can be combined to create these unique pieces.

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::family(part 13)history::

For a lot of people, ‘cousin’ isn’t a term that means a whole lot.  Distant people your age who you might sit next to once a year at a Christmas meal and stand beside to take a family photograph.  You can always tell when people aren’t familiar with their family from those kinds of photos.  Stances are mechanical and smiles superficial.  Everyone pushes out the word ‘cheese’ through stiff grins.

None of my family photos resemble that.  18 cousins and we all lived in a 2 hour radius growing up.  A few of us who were luckily the same age, lived in the same town.

‘Cousin’ meant so much more to me than distant unknown relative.

My cousins were my classmates.  We won soccer games together.  We learned how to ride our bikes in the same driveway, learned how to swim in the same pool.  We experienced seasons; raking and jumping in the piles of leaves in front of the old Bed & Breakfast, tying the sleds to the back of my Dad’s old Dodge and letting him pull us down the road, catching snakes in the backyard and riding four wheelers through the fields.

Annual highlights included Angelica Heritage Days, Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl, Fall Cup, Uncle Bob’s birthday bash, Christmas parties and trips to Sodus Bay.

Now most of us are out of the house, and those exciting gatherings don’t happen much anymore. But we’ve got some great memories, and a foundation that keeps us connected.

The word ‘cousin’, for me, holds a lot of significance.

Scholla cousins and Aunt Pam playing in the snow on the West Almond hill.

all ignorance toboggans into know
and trudges up to ignorance again:
but winter's not forever,even snow
melts;and if spring should spoil the game,what then?

all history's a winter sport or three:
but were it five,i'd still insist that all
history is too small for even me;
for me and you,exceedingly too small.

Swoop(shrill collective myth)into thy grave
merely to toil the scale to shrillerness
per every madge and mabel dick and dave
—tomorrow is our permanent address

and there they'll scarcely find us(if they do,
we'll move away still further:into now

ee cummings


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::family(part 6)history::

Before I go any further posting these projects, I thought I’d at least mention my intentions for all of the pieces.  I got the photos from my Grandmothers basement where she has a stack of boxes filled with unorganized and scattered photos.  Although I only searched a couple of boxes, the photos I found were definitely the oldest and least connected to me in that I had to guess at the faces in the photos. However, when I brought the pictures up for my Grandmother to see, she knew everyone and quickly reflected out loud the memories that corresponded in her mind with each photo. It was fun to see her experience the joy brought about by these visuals from her past, family members she hadn’t remembered in a while and places that used to be so familiar. That’s the beauty and importance of photography, but more on that later…

As I’ve mentioned, I took the oldest and most unique photos home with me back to Georgia where I have already spent countless hours scanning in the photos individually and carefully composing these digital pieces.  I’m not sure how many pages I will end up with, but my final intention is to put all of the pieces into a book and have it printed for their next anniversary.  I might have each family member write a hand written letter to them, scan those in and include them in the pages as well.  Any other ideas for the book are welcome so feel free to comment!

I’ll be printing the book at an amazing site http://www.blurb.com where I have had several books printed before.  After creating all of the photoshop documents I will be converting them into PDF files.  Blurb allows you to download a free software program called ‘BookSmart’ and you simply drag and paste each PDF into an outlined ‘book’, as many pages as you want.  After this easy transition you upload your created book to their website and it’s completely ready for printing.  No need to worry about false edging or mix-matched sizes.

Later on I will try to explain some of my creative process for the individual projects, as well as describe the text I’ve been using (you’ve probably noticed a pattern).  Although the faces in the pictures may not be people you know, I hope you can appreciate the artistic composition I’ve tried to create with each piece, and maybe even reflect back on your own memories.

As always, click on the piece to view it larger (important to notice the details).

I’ll try to start including more information about the individuals shown in each piece as well.  Sometimes I’ll have to ask my Mom and Aunt first! : )

This is my Grandmother (Elaine Scholla) pictured right with her arm around her Mother, my Great Grandmother (Hazel Tappan).


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::family(part 4)history::

Who left you so?
Who left you so?
Who left you so?

Striking a match for the keyhole
Dark as the evening laid
When he left you all alone

Turning to fade through the sawgrass
Tall as the only love
That you’ll ever really know

Who left you so?
Who left you so?
Who left you so?

Grace is a gift for the fallen dear
You’re an angry blade and you’re brave
But you’re all alone

Turning a shade of an angel born
In a bramble ditch when the doors
Of heaven closed

-Sam Beam


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::family(part 1)history::

Over Christmas break I spent a few afternoons visiting my Grandparents- something I always make sure to do while home.  I’ve been blessed to know all four of my Grandparents, and to have three of the four of them currently still living makes life pretty good.  There’s something about spending time with them that makes me feel good.  Sometimes, I think it’s the simplicity of the lifestyles they now pursue… daily crosswords, daily soaps, daily walks… they live in ‘daily’ mode, never really worrying about the weeks to come but enjoying simple tasks.

Another aspect of their current lifestyles I enjoy observing is their uncanny ability to be obscenely blunt while taking no blame or guilt for their words.  My Mom’s parents love to bicker and mock one another just for the sheer enjoyment of it…swear words often pop into their vocabulary and name calling is preferred, however smiles are always present and sometimes their playfulness even ends with a kiss.  The bickering and the swearing might sound a little odd to you, but it fits their characters in my mind and rolls off my ears just like the creaking of the floorboards in their house or the ticking of their Grandfather clock.

My Grandmother’s obsession with storing and saving loads of old ‘junk’ is something I thought I would never appreciate about her.  However, while doing some cleaning and decorating for her while home over break, my sister and I stumbled upon a large box of old photos.  The box had photos from various decades, most from the 80’s and 90’s documenting the birth and childhood of each of the 20+ grandchildren, myself included.  Towards the bottom of the box, the pictures changed.  Faces I didn’t recognize appeared and the paper became rough and crumbly in my fingers.

An hour or so later I shared a couple dozen of the most worn and faded pictures I found with my Grandma, Aunt, and Mom.  They were excited to remember the times and de-fuzz the memories and all eagerly shared with me the identities of those I didn’t recognize.

After making me promise to bring them back, my Grandma allowed me to take some of the photographs home.  I’ve spent several hours pour over the faces, gazing back at my history, trying to know and recall.

I spent some time scanning the pictures onto my computer and am planning on using them in a series of digital art dissecting and sharing my family history not only with you,  but also with myself.


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