On the surface, these photos are not all that special. A couple years ago my best friend and I went to NEO, one of Chicago's oldest underground nightclubs, with another friend. A couple weeks later, still another friend came in from out of town, and it had been so fun we three dragged him there with us again.
The first time we went, I took a few pics with my camera and those pictures are dark and not great. When our out-of-town friend visited, we took more pictures with his more expensive camera, and those came out really well. So I had a mix of non-matching photos on hand, just because I'd ordered prints some time ago, and I decided to quickly scrapbook them.
Well, that plan went out the window with all the hoops I've had to jump through. Since I have not really scrapbooked in several years, most of my supplies and papers are in storage. What I do have here at home was tucked away in various places when I took down my scrapbooking area. I couldn't even find any black cardstock so I had to buy some.
Then I attempted to find some of the various industrial/urban type papers I've collected over the years -- determined to finally use some of it, since these photos are exactly why I buy those papers. Failure to find paper I know I have, led to buying some Cropper Hoppper vertical paper storage, collecting all the paper I actually have on hand, and resorting it in this new system.
In the meantime, I was also buying 12 x 12 plastic drawers and turning those into "color drawers" as per Stacy Julian. I also switched to Stacy's storage method for smaller embellishments (buttons, brads, eyelets, etc).
Then I discovered my eyelet setter was missing so I went on a failed hunt to buy a new one, and in the end, bought a whole new eyelet system from someone online, and had to wait for it to arrive. I knew I wanted to use certain foam stamps to create my title; I couldn't find them for two weeks, which drove me crazy. And I realized I would have to set up my printer in order to journal on these pages, which was a whole nightmare in itself.
So basically, these pages were a process of fits and starts, of reworking when supplies were found or purchased, of tearing the place apart looking for items to use, then creating storage systems and moving things around quite a bit in my home to make room to store my supplies in a newly functional way.
Here's the thing. Six weeks is waaaaaaaayyyy too long to spend scrapbooking a few photos from one night a couple years ago. Especially since the occasions weren't anything special, in my opinion. I have been to NEO so many times in the past 18 years, with so many friends. It's no big deal to go to NEO. And if I took 6 weeks to scrapbook every grouping of 4-5 pictures, it would be like trying to hold off Hurricane Ike with a Totes umbrella. My style of scrapbooking, and my goals, are anti-perfectionism, anti-scrapping-psychosis in nature. I can and have created many pages in less than an hour. Get the memories on paper and move on, already.
But then I realized.... Six weeks is not too long to spend documenting a place that has been so important to my Chicago adulthood. And to get it "just right".
And that's one of the ways LOM has freed me. On the surface of it, LOM appears to be simply a photo storage system. Maybe a way of putting layouts in albums. But it's so much more. Because once upon a time, I really would have thought of these pictures as rather uninspiring shots of me and some friends goofing off on a Friday night or two. I might have never scrapped them because the "issue" of having non-matching photos of two separate but similar events mere weeks apart would have stumped me. Or I would have felt I needed to scrapbook them separately, and then document what we did and what happened both nights. And thus include every single picture I'd had printed, because if not, what else would I do with them? Borrrrrring.
Because of LOM, I sat down and wrote journaling about this club, NEO. I wrote about stuff that's not in the pictures at all -- how it was the first club I went to, right after I turned 21. How my brother and his best friend and I would go there on Thanksgiving night, after our respective family dinners, for years. How I have run into friends there and taken friends there and how no matter where else in Chicago we might go to dance, everyone always ends up at NEO. And about what a Chicago institution it is. As well as a bit about how great it was to finally take my best friend there, because she had never been.
In the LOM system, in which pictures illustrate memories and are removed from chronology, events and photos are thought of topically. Things are not scrapped because "This is something that happened in 2008." Instead, things are scrapped because they fit into a topic: Is it a Place? Is it a Person? Is it a Thing? Is it about someone's personality? Is it describing or detailing some more important aspect of life? How are these photos connected to ME as a person? More than simply, "I was here"?
When I went to the Arcola Broomcorn Festival a couple weeks ago, yes they were pictures of a road trip and a festival -- but the deeper meaning is, I went because I collect brooms and have done so for 17 years. So that layout has that deeper meaning. I didn't journal much on those pages, but rather than put these pages in Things I Do album, as in, "Here's something I did one weekend", I will store them in an album about me, who I am, and what's important to me. And even though I have taken pictures of my collection, and written about it, and showed it off.... these pages are the first time I have mentioned on a scrapbook page that big aspect of who I am.
When I look at these pictures of me at NEO, I think, these are pictures that have a whole history behind them. And I wrote the journaling to reflect that. And these pages won't go in a Things I Do album, like, "My friends and I go out to nightclubs, isn't that fascinating???" No, they will go in my Places I Go album, because these pictures document a place I go and have gone for years. And if I never take more pictures there, now it's documented.
That's one of the best things, to me, about LOM. It makes me actually look at the pictures themselves in a whole new way. It makes me scrapbook them in a more meaningful way. I've always considered my scrapbooking to be a documenting of my life, but now I consider it more a documenting of who I am. And when I have a set of pictures I can scrapbook them in any NUMBER of ways, not just the most obvious or easily apparent way.
And that's a LOM Success Story, because now when I look at my NEO pages, I am really excited. And it was worth all the hassle to finish it, because that's an important part of my personal history, there.
Yes I know -- this would be so much better if I could include the layouts in the post! Sadly I don't have PhotoShop on this computer, so scanning is not an option, and I have yet to find that dratted camera cord either.
Photo 1: NEO sign from actual photo on the layout. Chicago, IL. Taken by me. June 2006.
Photo 2: Handmade brooms for sale. Arcola Broomcorn Festival. Arcola, IL. Taken by me. Sept 2009.
Photo 3: My brother learning to surf. Kalahari Waterpark. Wisconsin Dells, WI. Taken by me. July 2007.