Memoir (US: /ˈmemwɑːr/; from French: mémoire: memoria, meaning memory or reminiscence) is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private, that took place in the subject's life. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir often tells a story "from a life", such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life.
For my birthday one year, my dad gifted me a box of old family photos. Looking through those images brought back memories and stories that I’d long forgotten. I asked him about the people I didn’t recognize and the stories behind some of the images. He told me what he could recall and I remember seeing the joy in his face as remembered people and places he hadn’t thought about in years. It was an afternoon of storytelling, lessons, sentiments, and discovery that started me on an unexpected chapter of my photography journey.
The Visual Memoir Project is my photographic memoir I use to document my life.
I want that same feeling for my kids. I want them to look back and see their childhood, their life in words and images. This project will have a mix of old and new images. I will use the old images to trigger my memories to write about people and events I’ve long forgotten about. New images will be documented so that they will never be forgotten. Feel free to bookmark this page, or join my newsletter to follow along and get tips on how you can start your own photographic memoir.
Micah has been to Pierogi Fest almost every year of his life. This year, he acted as if he was “over it” and didn’t want to participate in any of the activities. He spent most of the day playing Pokemon Go on his phone. Something new this year at the fest was kool-aid slushies. When he saw this he immediately became interested and joined in. This slushy and pizza were the only things he asked for the entire afternoon. For me, this image will alway represent the time in his life when he was still a kid, but almost a teen. Silly but serious, too cool for pierogis and family, but not for slushies.
Midnight - September 2, 2000
This picture was taken in a liquor store in my 21st birthday. I’d talked my parents into letting me have a party starting on the 1st at around 930 or 10pm. At midnight, I would go to the store and buy my first bottle of alcohol as an official adult. The lady behind the counter asked for my ID, checked my birthday and said “Baby you have to be 21!” I proudly proclaimed “But it’s midnight, I am 21”. She got as excited as we were. She ran from behind the counter, gave me a birthday hug and offered to take this picture of us (because of course I had a camera with me). There to celebrate with me was my sister, my cousin RisCinda and our friend Devonya. I only took maybe one sip of the drink, I just wanted the experience
Marcel asked if he could have another birthday. I asked him why and he said because he wants to play outside at his party. Earlier that summer, we’d gone to one of my friends kids birthday party held in their backyard. It was a beautiful day and the boys played until they were exhausted. Marcel’s birthday is in January, so we’ve always had an indoor party for him. So, I bought balloons and cupcakes and we celebrated his half birthday. This is something I may do more frequently to just celebrate the boys being my boys.
The first signs of spring is in the air. It was warm and they were restless from not being able to play outside all winter. I wasn't feeling well, but knew they had to get out. So I got out the bubble machine I’d gotten them last summer and we went outside to play . Micah is heavily into Power Rangers and I could not talk him into changing out of his costume. My face in this image sums up how tired I was. They came back in the house exhausted and hungry. We all took a nap shortly afterwards.
June 11, 2011
Micah is 2 years old in this image. It was a nice summer morning so I decided to take him out for a walk after breakfast. At this stage, Micah was obsessed with keys and often had a pair in his hand everywhere he went. This morning we were walking, he had his keys and we got to a cross walk. I yelled “Micah don’t go in the street without mommy!” He froze and then took a tiny step..MICAH! He laughed and took another step...MICAH! He turned around and I snapped this image of him. I miss our morning walks
This tee sums up his personality at this age perfectly.
My dad took Marcel to McDonalds and let him play in the play land for awhile. A boy there visibility older than Marcel started kicking at him. Marcel apparently walked up to the little boy and yelled in his 3 yr old voice “YOU BETTER STOP KICKING AT ME” and continued to walk up on the boy to make him stop. The kicker then ran away. Marcel told my dad he was about to “get him”. Marcel is the kid that not only stands up for himself, but will stop others kids as well. He has stood up for his brother countless times when he as in trouble to get him off punishment. I hope he’s always this way.
On a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory, Micah (for whatever reason) was overly excited and kept yelling. Sometime during the day, I tried to get in a cute posed picture and he wouldn’t stay still and kept directing Marcel. I guess Marcel was fed up at this point because he turned around, put his hand over Micah’s mouth and told him to “BE QUIET, YOU”RE DOING TOO MUCH!”
Sometimes you have to help the ones you love know when to let go and keep quiet.
He wanted this ice cream for the colors. Red and green are his favorite colors. But it turned out to be too sour. He didn’t want to throw it away (because of the colors) so he placed it on a plate and watched it melt.
2018 is the year of adventure for Micah. This year he has: zip lined in the rain forest, went scuba diving, indoor skydiving and now wall climbing. I can’t wait to see what he tries next.
Camp Duncan - September 2018
We received about 3 feet of snow in two days. As a result, the boys got to break in their snow pants and finally get out the house after being sick and trapped in the house. This was Marcels first time really enjoying and playing in snow. His big brother was all to happy to show him the way.
I’m not entirely sure why my sister and I decided that posing with a giant panda was a good idea. We decided one year to take photos with each for my parents as a gift. Something we would continue to do as we entered adulthood. I thought it was important that my parents always had updated images of just the two of us. As I continue to document my life, I’m so happy I did this.
We were leaving Camp Duncan and he didn’t want to go. They had a small beach at the camp and its the first time since our vacation that he got to play in the sand. He didn’t cry, but the sadness in his face broke my heart.
Camp Duncan - September 2018
Marcel was a little over a year old when we first visited an apple farm. The farm had about 2 acres of land, and on this sunny warm summer afternoon, he was determined to run around all of it. There were pony’s and hay rides and a maze, but the star attraction for Marcel were the apples. There were bins of apples already picked from trees lined up on the grounds. He stopped at every single one. It wasn’t until lunch time when he said he wasn’t hungry that we realized he’d taken tiny bites out of each apple he’d held during the day. I’m pretty sure he’d taken a bit out of 3 lbs of apples. I can’t wait to take him back.
On Micah’s first cruise, my Dad took boxes of Froot Loops to the beach so Micah would have snacks. Something we’ve don every cruise since. When Marcel went on his first cruise, he was too young to eat the cereal. On this cruise, he was old enough and his big brother made sure to keep the tradition alive by getting Marcel his own box.
This is one of the many costumes my boys make to cosplay. Marcel described this one as “Awesome Power Ranger”. It was a broken Captain America helmet and a water shooter.
This picture is a pivotal point in my life because it started my relationship with electronics. In the 80’s, faux laptops such as these weren’t marketed to girls. Yet, here I am, all of 6 (or 7) years old completely immersed in this toy. Judging by the look on my face, I was clearly annoyed when asked to take this picture.
I’d put Marcel down for a nap and made myself some popcorn for lunch. I placed it on couch and went back to the kitchen for a drink. when I returned, the popcorn was missing. There was no one else in the house and Marcel was napping……or so I thought. I found him hiding on the stairs quietly munching on the popcorn. The perfect little popcorn thief.
He started reading his little brother bedtime stories when he was just a couple months old. Now, story time is a special moment when they aren’t fighting over some toy and it’s just them being brothers.
Micah’s 8th birthday. We sat at “court side” and got to see and be apart of all of the action. Micah was excited and surprised to hear his name being called out by the king. Marcel really enjoyed the show and cheered the loudest for our knight to win. At the end we had to explain to him that the knights weren’t really heart and that it was all pretend. This is the first family portrait we took after my nephew was born.
When my dad was younger, he was able to ride It’s a Small World with his family. When we were younger, he took my sister and I to Disney World and it was one of the first rides we did together. One of his goals was to take his grandchildren to Disney and experience the ride with them. This fall, my sister and I were able to make that happen. Is this a perfect photo, probably not. But it is the perfect moment. My dad and all 3 of his grandsons outside It’s a Small World.
My favorite photo of Micah and myself.
We spent the day outside walking around the neighborhood, to the playground and the store. Stopping on our front porch to rest, Micah gave me a hug and I took this “selfie”. It was a perfect day.
I took the boys to the park today. It’s the first time Marcel has been able to run and (almost) follow his brother everywhere. He was amazed at all the things Micah was able to do. He really thinks his brother is a real live super hero.
Our next door neighbor had a Sno-Ball stand setup for the kids on our block. She asked Micah and Marcel if they wanted one and they both looked confused because they didn’t know what a Sno-Ball was. They had never had one. The neighbor got very excited about this and gave them the biggest size possible. They both got Strawberry flavors and sat on the porch to enjoy them. I don’t know what they were talking about, but I guess the conversation was amusing. For the rest of the summer, she offered them one every time she say them.
Raising two boys that are six years apart. Their personalities are could not be further apart. This picture will always represent that to me. “Spoiled and Savage”
Once a year, I’ll take Micah out of school early for a ditch day. It’s a day just for him and I to do something just together. I realize that I spend less time with him since having Marcel and getting a new job, so this is something special just for him. I was fortunate to get two tickets to a special Nintendo Switch party. It was an event that allowed us to play the game before it was released. It didn’t tell him in advance and surprised him at school for a special ditch day. He was over the moon excited. It was one of our best ditch days so far.
After we went zip-lining, the owners of the establishment asked if we wanted to see their pet money. Micah was hesitate, but agreed. The money was very cute and playful. He climbed on Micahs shoulder and just sat there. Micah never took his eyes off the monkey. After it was over, he said he was just happy it didn’t poop on his shoulder.