Inspiration Rather than Time

There is a thought community within the scrapbooking community that emphasizes themes and inspiration rather than time as the basis of organization. Big Picture Scrapbooking is an online education program (Julian and Rehn 2009) devoted to “giving permission” to people to scrapbook non-chronologically. This philosophy posits that scrapbookers should sort their photographs into meaningful categories[1] and scrapbook what inspires them when they are scrapbooking without regard to the passing of time. This philosophy is a result of what happens when scrapbookers focus solely on chronological scrapbooking: they inevitably fall behind and are constantly trying to get caught up. Big Picture Scrapbooking encourages scrapbookers to organize their photographs around a few simple categories and then scrapbook what inspires them.

One of my respondents mentions how she was trying to follow this philosophy “because sometimes when you see this photograph next to another photograph, it brings to your mind some connection that you previously would never have made.”

The existence of this thought community within scrapbooking indicates there are competing ways to perceive the past. Most scrapbookers start out as chronological scrapbookers even when they are scrapbooking thematically and rarely scrapbook purely based on inspiration.

[1] Stacy Julian wrote The Big Picture (2005) and Photo Freedom (2008) and shares with scrapbookers the categories she finds meaningful: people, places, and things. The categories are further refined based on the people, places, and things in your life. Photographs and memorabilia are sorted into these categories and scrapbooked from there instead of from the point in time in which they occur. Big Picture Scrapbooking changed its name to Big Picture Classes after my dissertation was finished. I have opted to retain the original references in this post.

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