I’ve been spending a lot of time lately exploring the town in which I live. It’s a strange feeling discovering that there is a lot you don’t know about the place you have called home for over a decade — a town with a five mile radius and a population so small you can walk the aisles of the local grocery store and never meet a stranger.
I know the curve of every backroad, the name of the cashier at the pharmacy, and the best place to go to watch the 4th of July fireworks each year, but until recently I had never noticed the subtle charm of the old brick buildings that line Main Street or the architectural detail in the century old homes a street over, lovingly restored by their owners.
My sudden interest in my hometown came about as a result of an impromptu afternoon stroll through the downtown area a few weeks ago. I spent the morning camped out in a local coffee shop working and the walk was a way to unwind before having lunch and tackling the rest of the day’s to dos. I recently purchased a new camera and as I walked I regretted not having the forethought to bring it along with me. I hadn’t been down those streets on foot since I was a teenager — an age when my awareness of my surroundings did not extend much beyond my own nose — and it was like I was seeing this part of town with fresh eyes.
I wanted to capture it.
Since that day I’ve been on several leisurely walks through the area and those that surround it, pausing to snap pictures of small town life. My intention is to collect all my photographs into a scrapbook, something I can look back on decades from now and remember what this place was like when my children were growing up. It is already so different from the town I knew in adolescence. For starters, there are far less trees and far more buildings.
Creating scrapbooks is something I’ve actively done since college, but have loved since the days of flipping through black and white photo albums with my grandmother as a child. We did this frequently and it instilled in me the importance of not just sharing and capturing special moments with your loved ones, but in organizing them in a physical form to be enjoyed by future generations.
Over the years I’ve used many scrapbooking programs to create books of my photographs. Most recently I created an album using Wendy’s scrapbooking app which I found to be incredibly easy to use and I particularly loved the ease with which I could share my album with Facebook friends. It offers the option of printing the book as well (assuming you don’t win one of the free copies they are giving away) which I love because I often worry about a catastrophic loss of things I’ve only stored in a digital format.
What have you photographed recently?