I had bins of unsorted photos, memorabilia, and junk. I lost photos when a hard drive crashed, and I paid $2,500 to get some of those photos recovered. I could barely keep up with documenting my daughter’s early years. I could never find a photo when I needed one. I’ll be the sibling taking over the family photos and scrapbooks from my parents.


Every time I arrived at my grandparents' house, I made a beeline for the photo albums. There were the cloth covered binders, mustard yellow and teal, full of magnetic pages of prints. The photo stand where prints flipped on two large silver rings. And my favorites, the scrapbooks full of black and white prints and ephemera where my grandmother documented the early years of her marriage. These pictures, and the family stories that went with them, were an integral part of my childhood.


My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic, with 110 film and flashcubes. I made scrapbooks of our vacations and of my school memorabilia. I was yearbook editor my senior year. I worked at the Smithsonian in college, and majored in history. I got a graduate degree in museum studies. My love of stories and history and "the organizing gene" led me to the Strong Museum, where I spent eight years as the Collections Manager, overseeing the cataloging, photography, and archival storage of the museum’s 500,000+ objects.


Looking for other ways to share stories, I got an MBA and spent nine years in corporate marketing. I've never stopped photographing and documenting my family’s life. These days it's just with my iPhone. I'm less interested in the perfect shot, rather that I got a shot at all. I make smaller, thematic albums to get those pictures actually printed, and share with family and friends in online albums. Now, as a certified personal photo organizer, I love helping other families organize their memories and share their stories.