Scrapping Whispers

scrapbook

When Did Scrapbooking Start?

When Did Scrapbooking Start

Figuring out the origin of anything is difficult, partly because the origin of anything is going to depend upon the definitions that one uses. Knowing when scrapbooks started requires people to define scrapbooks precisely. Scrapbooks themselves come in many different varieties, which is only going to make the definition fuzzier.

It is fair to say that scrapbooks the way people know them today would not be possible without the invention of photography. Most people are trying to preserve their precious and cherished memories, which will typically involve photographs. Many people confuse scrapbooks and photo albums, and indeed, the history of scrapbooks could very well parallel the history of photo albums.

The first photo albums go back to the 1830s and the 1840s. During this time period, photography was very expensive. People didn’t take photographs in order to commemorate random moments. If families ever took photographs at all, these photography sessions would take place during very important events. They would take the equivalent of family photographs, but they would not take photographs of their daily lives as people would later on during the history of photography.

The original scrapbooks were actually done for research purposes. The people that had the equipment for photography on that level, not to mention the funding, were probably going to need to be researchers in the first place. Some people might regard these as scrapbooks, and some people might not. Still, the researchers set many different precedents in more ways than one.

Scrapbooks the way we know them today are a product of the twentieth century. Many of the components of most modern scrapbooks are mass-produced items, and the mass-production of simple items became more common after World War Two. Hobby shops and craft stores are surprisingly modern, and these are all also products of industrialization.

Really, scrapbooks took off when photography became less expensive and people started taking more actual snapshots, as opposed to the carefully planned, artistic photographs that dominated the early days of photography. As photo albums became more common, scrapbooks also became more common.

However, part of the rise of scrapbooks was influenced by cultural changes. As anyone who has ever put together a scrapbook knows, scrapbooking is fairly time-consuming. You need to gather all of the necessary materials, plan ahead what you’re going to do, and spend some time assembling everything. I’ve spent way more than an afternoon on a scrapbook before, and that was for a scrapbook that I had already been designing in my head for a while.

You also need to have a certain degree of disposable income in order to successfully do a scrapbook. I don’t spend that much money on my scrapbooking hobby or anything, but between the hobby shop and the time I spend doing this when I could be earning money, the money is nothing to sneeze at. Poor people on the frontier could not scrapbook, especially since they were making their own soap and adhesives.

The rise of a large middle class occurred during the nineteenth century, and it become even more common after the Second World War. Plenty of people had more disposable income at that point, and they could do things like spend their disposable income at the hobby stores that were also starting to appear on the scene. Women staying at home and raising their children while their husbands went off to the office also took off during the 1950s. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t the default for most of humanity up until that point as well.

The women who were staying at home and raising their children needed to pass the time. Women at the time were expected to be highly dedicated to their homes and families, even more than they are today. Scrapbooking helped women pass the time, and being able to create scrapbooks dedicated to their children and family members helped women feel as if they were passing the time in a way that really mattered. Naturally, making a scrapbook is also fun, and it is way more stimulating than watching afternoon soap operas. It isn’t surprising that housewives in the 1950s helped make scrapbooking the hobby that it is today.

You don’t have to be a housewife to enjoy scrapbooking. I’ve met plenty of guys in scrapbooking circles today, and most of the women I know who scrapbook do scrapbooking on the weekends or after they get home from work. Scrapbooking is a modern hobby that has found its way into the world of today very nicely, even though its origins were influenced by historical developments that have a way of seeming very foreign to us today.

 

Scrapbooking and Smartphones

Scrapbooking and Smartphones

Scrapbooking has already become easier in an age where everyone can take pictures with their ubiquitous cameras easily. We always have plenty of snapshots to work with, and we always have plenty of different images to add to our books. Some people might think that the modern world has damaged scrapbooking, but I think it has only strengthened it.

I remember when I first got involved with scrapbooking. I would sometimes go through every single box in the attic looking for certain pictures. Even then, I often wouldn’t find a thing. I would think about all of these great images that I could add to a scrapbook about something, and it turns out that the image in question has been lost to the sands of time forever.

Today, if I lose an image, I can easily find it backed up somewhere in most cases. In all likelihood, I didn’t take too few pictures: I probably took way too many. As a result, I’m going to have to go through each and every one of those pictures in order to find the one that I want. However, I would definitely say that this is the problem that I would rather have.

A lot of smartphone images are still better than the photos that I remember from the 1980s and the 1990s. Polaroid photography was never the best. Today, it has become a thing of the past. To a certain extent, all modern scrapbooks are digital scrapbooks, since they almost always make use of digital photography.

 

The Future of Scrapbooking

The Future of Scrapbooking

While some people who love scrapbooks maintain that there is only one type of scrapbook, I’ve never believed that. I always consider digital scrapbooks to be true scrapbooks. Being on the technology lover side of the issue, I have to wonder what is going to happen to scrapbooks now.

I think it will be interesting when we are actually capable of applying virtual reality to scrapbooks. For all we know, the scrapbooks of the future will partly contain holograms, or they will partly involve holograms. I think that’s pretty exciting.

It’s also possible that material science will change, and people will be able to add things to their scrapbooks that they never had before this point. I have scrapbooks that are full of little plastic decorations. Plastic wasn’t even invented until the 1950s, and my random scrapbook about this house I once lived in would look like it was from the space age to someone from the 1940s. I, for one, hope there are space age scrapbooks one day.

The subjects of scrapbooks will change of course. There weren’t as many scrapbooks about college graduations before the days in which almost everyone went to college, for instance. Maybe people will one day make scrapbooks that are all about like on Mars or life aboard a space station. I tend to think that’s pretty exciting.

Creating the Perfect Scrapbook

Creating Scrapbook

One of the most important parts of scrapbooking is achieving a sense of balance. Way too many people make their scrapbooks look horribly busy, which is just going to make the entire image that much harder for anyone to process. Scrapbooks should ideally have a certain charming simplicity to them, and you will disrupt that charming simplicity by making them look too littered with items.

When laying out a page for a scrapbook, you need to decide on what the focal point of the page should be, or you’re going to have a difficult time organizing the page or the scrapbook correctly. For instance, let’s say you’re making a scrapbook about your cat. On one page, you may feature an adorable picture of your cat as a kitten. This photograph ought to be the focal point of this particular page. At that point, you can decorate the rest of the page with mementos of your cat’s kitten years, which should make the page look that much more colorful and cheerful.

You won’t need that many mementos, however, or you will fall into the trap of making the page look much too busy. Maybe including a piece of artwork related to your cat during his or her kitten years would work. Even something a little more clinical like an image of his or her identification tag could even lend an interesting touch. Lots of people will add something cute in contexts like these, such as stickers that relate to the kitten or kittens somehow.

It’s also a good idea to give a scrapbook a solid theme. Scrapbooks don’t have to be about themes that are so narrow that literally everything that happens in that scrapbook is about that theme, of course. However, if the theme of the scrapbook is too broad, it is going to lose its focus and organization. People who try to use one scrapbook to document their entire lives, for instance, are going to end up with a scrapbook that is much too broad.

It makes more sense to make a scrapbook dedicated to specific events from your life. For instance, if you’ve recently celebrated a college graduation, including your own, it makes sense to try to document the festivities. That way, you can explore this theme in detail. College graduation parties still tend to attract many different memories, and you will be able to present these memories in detail when you get to work on your scrapbook.

I also always think that it’s a good idea to play around with textures when you’re putting together a scrapbook. You don’t want everything in the scrapbook to be flat pictures, even if some of them are drawings. Adding some ribbon or some fabric can sometimes break up a page of a scrapbook nicely. Some people like to add things like buttons, and similar items that are fairly flat but are still more three-dimensional. Making a scrapbook is all about achieving a balance and striking the right emotional tone. If you can do that, you’ve got a great scrapbook.

Digital and Physical Scrapbooks

There always seems to be a battle going on between the people who embrace new technology and the people who reject it. The debate between physical and digital scrapbooks seems to be an extension of that ongoing battle, and it’s only going to get worse. Some fans of scrapbooking don’t even consider digital scrapbooks to be true scrapbooks. Other fans of scrapbooking consider physical scrapbooks to be ludicrously old-fashioned, believing that these scrapbooks have been replaced. It is easy to sort these individuals into technology lovers and traditionalists.

Ultimately, the question of whether digital scrapbooks are better than physical scrapbooks is going to be a matter of opinion. Some people are going to like the look and feel of the scrapbooks that are physical. Some people are going to like the elegance and convenience of the scrapbooks that are digital. Plenty of people are going to be like me and take the third option, which involves appreciating the both of them for what they are and what they have to give. I like to make digital scrapbooks and physical scrapbooks, which are both physical in their own way.

For one thing, digital scrapbooks are going to give you way more options when it comes to giving them character and flair. You don’t have to go to the hobby store and buy as many decorations as you can find in order to make your scrapbooks look neat. You can just download more graphics or get different images. Plenty of digital scrapbooks take on a life of their own, which is partly a consequence of the fact that the people who make them have so many choices.

Physical scrapbooks, of course, are still going to have advantages that cannot be replicated digitally, as much as I genuinely like digital scrapbooks. For one thing, it is easier to play around with new textures when you have a physical scrapbook. You can create a scrapbook that incorporates soft items, jagged items, and flat items. Also, party of designing physical scrapbooks is going to involve gluing everything together and turning the pages. You need to make sure the pages are adorned, but still flat enough to turn. You also need to make sure everything is aligned on the page correctly, which requires some understanding of spatial orientation.

People can also hold physical scrapbooks, giving them a tactile quality that is automatically going to be lacking in their digital counterparts. Some people may consider this a benefit rather than a drawback. However, the people that really enjoy holding scrapbooks may miss that feeling if they’re just going to be clicking through in order to look at their digital scrapbooks.

Still, at the end of the day, scrapbooks are all about remembering important events in your life and the lives of others in an artistic way. Digital scrapbooks will get the job done. Physical scrapbooks will get the job done. You can be artistic with both of them.

Some people might say that physical scrapbooks may age better, given all of the vintage scrapbooks that we still have today. These vintage scrapbooks are important historical documents now. I would maintain that digital scrapbooks will also be important historical documents one day. It doesn’t look that way now, because all of technology seems so modern to people. Websites from the 1990s look laughably dated: they don’t seem poignantly historical yet.

However, I think this is just a temporary trend, and it is largely a product of the fact that we’re still so close to the early days of the Internet. People may one day get a sentimental glow when looking at old-fashioned websites from the 1990s. They may get that exact same sentimental glow as they look at the lovely digital scrapbooks that people create, especially since these scrapbooks will be full of things that are inherently nostalgic and sentimental.