Thursday, August 28, 2008

:REVIEW: Photo Freedom by Stacy Julian

The title of Stacy Julian's new book, Photo Freedom, has a double meaning for me. A lot has changed since I began using a digital camera.

Most importantly, my photo taking abilities have improved greatly simply because I have more freedom to experiment without any direct costs (i.e. film, developing) involved. Through this experimentation (i.e. practice), anyone's photography skills are bound to get better.

Secondly, I take and keep a lot more pictures than I ever would have dreamed of when using a film camera. Therefore, I've found myself at time feeling anything but free when dealing will all the pictures in my camera and on my computer.

Stacey's book is a guide into not only bringing those feelings of being overwhelmed by photos into control, but also in finding more effective ways of helping those photos find their way into our scrapbooks and memory art.

"Scrapbooking actually describes the ongoing multi-dimensional spectrum of activities that begins with an awareness of your life, followed by a desire to photograph and record your day-to-day experiences, ultimately resulting in scrapbook albums that are overflowing with colorful, perspective-laden layouts, each of which contributes in some small way to the story of you life and heritage."
Stacey Julian, Photo Freedom

Now try to say that all in one breath! However, it really does sum up the way that I have come to view scrapbooking.

The book contains 3 chapters:

Chapter 1 - My System
There's no mystery in Chapter 1. Stacey basically outlines her processes for organization. She talks about three essential storage items - storage binders, category drawers, and library albums - and how they are utilized for efficient scrapbooking.

Stacy also discusses several 'extras' that work for her. My favorite of these was a 'School of Life' file box for collecting artwork and schoolwork each year of your child's career. I implemented this 'extra' before I even finished the book and love it. It solved a storage issue I'd been struggling with for quite some time.

Chapter 2 - My Pictures
Here, Stacey shares a 6 step proess for organizing your photos, both prints and digital files. Also included within this chapter are 11 case studies that highlight pages and projects along with detailed information about how they evolved from her system.

Chapter 3 - Your Results
This chapter features profiles on 11 scrappers and how they adapted the system to suit their own needs. Here are some stats I found interesting about the women featured:

- they range in age from 29 - 61
- there was a stay-at-home mom, there was a biologist and many other careers inbetween
- some had been scrapping as little as 4 years, others as long as 15
- some had no children, some had one/some, and some were grandmothers

In other words, Stacey was sure to collect a vast cross-section of the scrapbooking community to show that her system (or some variation of her system - see below) can work for anyone.

The other thing I loved about this book is that Stacey acnologes that not every piece of the system will work for every person.

"...remember that the all-or-nothing rule doesn't apply to this bok or my system. You might be ready to embrace it all - or maybe you'll only find relevance in parts and pieces of what I share."
Stacey Julian, Photo Freedom

I found myself to be in the second group, but regardless of the fact that I chose not to adopt every aspect of her system does not change the fact that the ones I did adopt have forever changed the way I organize my photos and get them scrapped.


??? I am always curious and open to hearing the opinions of others. If you own or have read this book, please feel free to share your opinion of it in the comments below.

Visit the Photo Freedom page at You can also read more of my reviews for other recommendations.

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