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Story Play | Photography | Sharing Our Why

Welcome to a week of celebrating photography as one of the core pieces of memory keeping!

We chose to focus less on the technical and more on the emotional this week because we don't feel like you need to be a photo expert to authentically share your story via photos. Today we invited a handful of community members to share with us why they love photography. You are also invited to share your own why either in the comments or on your own social media. If you share on social please tag #aephotolovewhy so we can see and read your reason! 

This week on Friday we will have a live Zoom Community call at 10am Pacific to chat about photos + memory keeping. Bring questions about photos and/or memory keeping

All you need to do to join the call is click this link on Friday: 

The call will be recorded + shared here on the blog after it's ended and uploaded. 

If you'd like a deeper dive into looking through your lens from a storytellers perspective you can check out the classes we offer about photography including: 

Both classes are 50% off this week (no promo code needed)!

To get you thinking about your own reason why we invited community members to share here using the Story Play Photography Kit (using either the physical version or the digital version). 

Let's dive in!


Connect with Azzari here:  Azzari Jarrett

I fell in love with photography at a time when my life drastically changed - when I became a mother. My world now revolved around this tiny human being I had brought into the world, and my outlook on everything shifted. I grabbed my camera to document my new life, my new normal, my new world. I haven't looked back in 16 years. My journey with photography has led me down many paths - through digital and film, experimenting with different techniques and mediums. But one thing always remains the same - my love for the art of capturing my emotions and feelings through that lens. Photography continues to be the most special way for me to make sense of my world. When I happy or content, I love to capture that feeling. When I am inspired and in awe, I reach for my camera. If my day didn't go as planned, I still document it all. Photography has the ability to see me through different stages of my life so that I can revisit and make note of how much I have changed and grown.


Connect with Ingunn here:  Ingunn Markiewicz

My husband and I bought our first DSLR in 2006, right after I started scrapbooking. I instantly fell in love, and for years I would take thousands (yup) of photos of our hikes and backpacking trips, spending hours meticulously editing them in Lightroom.

When we had kids, my focus changed to capturing more of our home life and all the changes that were happening there – suddenly I understood what Ali had been talking about all these years, the joy of documenting the seemingly mundane details of our everyday life! (We are moving to Norway in July, and now those photos of our life at home here in Washington feel even more important! I’m so glad we have lots of photos of the kids growing up in this house, and I wish we had even more.)

These days, I am too lazy to lug around a big SLR, so I take photos with my phone and edit them quickly in the Photoshop app. My favorite photos these days are a combination of my old and my new life: pictures of my kids out hiking! I’ve always said that my scrapbooking is mainly for me – a therapeutic way to look at my life as I live it, and as a way to help me remember all the good times when I am old and grey and no longer going on grand adventures. It feels like we are living through our golden years right now, and I am so thankful that I have a memory-capturer that fits in my pocket!


Connect with Jill here:  Jill Drangsholt

I decided to use this paper as an opportunity to include a few of my Week in the Life photos in my Project Life album. I ended up cutting down a 12x12 page protector to create an 8.25 x 12 layout with the "photos matter" paper and one of the Story Play transparencies stitched together. 


I love taking photos of myself in order to see myself in ways that I haven't seen before. So often I only see myself head on in mirrors, but miss out on the me that others see. These selfies help me to remember my own beauty and be more confident in who I am.

I love the way photos can often tell a story better than I could describe it in words. I love how quickly I can capture a moment (however imperfectly) before it disappears. Or how I can deliberately craft an image to tell the story I want it to tell. 

I love to document the changing seasons in my life. The moments that feel like they will never change but do inevitably morph over time, and the ones that persist over and over. I love to record today's ordinary moments knowing that tomorrow they will look completely different.


Connect with Amy here:  Amy Mallory

The Story Play Photography Digital Mini Kit provided the perfect pieces to create a layout that had a dual celebration. It celebrates my son’s proposal and my love for being the one who was honored to photograph it. As photographers, we are the ones looking through the lens, but sometimes it’s fun to take a step back and have a bird’s eye view of what we look like while we’re doing what we love. This layout is about the feelings I have as a photographer and how serving others through this outlet brings me joy! I chose to use photos from this special occasion as an example of how I love being able to photograph the people in my life. The majority of the photos from this spread are of the proposal, but on the insert I used a repeating photo of myself to support the story.

Photography is a passion of mine that ebbs and flows in intensity. Lately I have had a renewed energy toward my favorite hobby and Ali’s Week in the Life photos inspired me to pick up my camera again on a regular basis. I am going to have a celebration album of the photographs that are meaningful to me along with some reflective thoughts about the experience of being the photographer. It will also include words and snippets from others such as the "thank you" message I received from my son on Instagram. 

I am continuing my memory keeping in a 10 x 8 album. This spread was all created digitally in PSE and I will print the pages at 11 x 8.25 to live outside the page protectors. This spread includes 2 pages plus a 6 x 8 insert (front & back).


Connect with Traci here:  Traci Brooks

I didn’t always value photography, mostly because I didn’t consider myself good at taking photos. It wasn’t until I started this memory keeping journey all those years ago, I discovered photos were the avenue for me to tell my stories. At that time photos were for historical or who/ what/ where/ when types of story (and still often can be those types of stories).  However, I have been learning how capturing perspective in my photo also gives perspective in my storytelling. The photos started becoming a way for me to process what was happening in my life, in real time. They became as important as my journaling.  I have grown to understand I don’t need to have all the technical knowledge of using my DSLR to capture my perspective/my view/my voice/my story. I just need a camera.


Connect with Kelly here:  Kelly Ishmael

Hi friends! I'm delighted to be here to celebrate my love of photography with you today. I have been taking a photo everyday (more or less) for the past 10 years, and it is a practice that still brings me so much joy. Seeing life through the lens is my way of seeking out and celebrating the good things in my life which is especially welcome when life feels hard or heavy. Photography also is a practice in mindfulness - like pressing a daily pause button that helps me to feel grounded and present. And finally, I love how photography gives me a tangible connection to my cherished memories with loved ones and then being able to relive those moments through my photos.

I loved the invitation to document why photos matter to me using this paper from the Story Play Collection Photography Mini Kit. I started by typing out my words and printing them on the "Photos Matter" paper. ( Full disclosure: My printer ruined my physical copy of this paper, so I ended up using the digital version for this layout.) Then I printed out three photos sized 1.75" x 1.75" to place in the squares and one 7" x 8.25" photo to accompany the layout. As a final touch, I added a simple chipboard piece from the kit and a felt flower from my stash. 

I hope you enjoy the photography-themed content this week and I can't wait to see all of your projects. As always, thank you for letting me share my stories and my projects with you.


Photos are life! I'm a point in my own life journey that I can't imagine photos not being a part of my life in one way or another. My parents took lots of photos (and I've been able to go back through many of them over the years) because they simply loved both looking through the lens and developing the photos. It was simply something you did. I never imagined that photography would become a piece of my work life. I love both documenting the basics of everyday life (I'm looking at your messes - you are so very normal) and creatively looking through the lens to either capture or create something magical and meaningful. 

My kids are older now and a lot of my photos in this season of life are of flowers or Betty (our white lab) or of myself. I'm here for that transition and walking into new chapters with open arms for capturing what's beautiful to me in this phase of my life. There are different stories to tell now. 

For today's project I knew I wanted to pair my Reason Why page with a collage of photos. I scrolled back through some of my photo archives and picked some from my childhood, from when our kids were little, and some that are more recent. 

In between my photo collage and my "here's my why" page I added in the vellum photo pattern and cut out the heart from one of the 3x4 cards for the front. On the back of the patterned vellum I added a couple chipboard pieces and a clear sticker from a past word/phrase sticker sheet. 

I chose to handwrite my reflections (and paired them with small photos) directly onto the paper (and yeah, I know the date stamp is wrong - it's all good). 

Here's my why (at least my why right now - there's probably always more I could write):

  • I simply love looking through the lens of my cameras to witness and document the chapters of my life. They are moments and memories frozen in time - the big pieces and the small little experiences. I love seeing both myself and my people. 
  • Photos ground me in what is real - right now in a given season of life. I especially love photos of the natural world and things growing (the cycles) in my yard. Photos invite me to pay attention and tell stories of this season. 
  • They link the past and the present. They show the passage of time and remind me that people make it through things. I love putting past and present photos together to tell stories that honor the chapters of life and all the ebbs and flows. 

Here's a short video of this one coming together: 


Tomorrow we are celebrating our imperfect photos! We all have them and they can be used to support a wide variety of stories from our lives. We'd love to invite you to share your imperfect + awesome photos on social tomorrow (5/31/23) and use #aeimperfectphotos to share with our community what you love about a particular imperfect photo. Let's celebrate! 

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3 thoughts

  1. ScrappinMyHeartOut says…

    What beautiful input and great reminders of how photos transform our lives. Thanks to each of you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. totteacher says…

    Love this series and seeing all the different ways to use the products!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Hisee1951 says…

    Play football game now at:

    Reply 0 Replies
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