quaking aspen, previously

scrapping trends & “regular” photos

Posted on: July 4, 2006

This entry is a response to this post. Go read it, it’s interesting. Don’t forget to come back… (Also this entry, “The Great Divide” is a thought-provoking summary of a “designer’s” point of view. It’s a good blog, generally, for anyone interested in scrapbooking as an industry.)

I understand your problem with cropping — I’m not a great photographer myself (yet), but I do tend to take close ups, fill the frame, etc. and for that reason, in fact, I often do not crop, and like to have my photos printed in “digital ratio” (e.g. 4×5.3″ rather than 4×6) to avoid cropping out what I wanted to keep in when I took it, dangit.

However, I would have to take issue with your phrasing:

Some market-savvy industry publications have heard their customers discontent with the “moments” content and are now preferring or calling specifically for pages that are created from pictures that are standard 4×6 prints or crops of 4×6 prints. This may be a wise business decision for the publications and good for the industry as a whole, but it requires that designers who wish to continue to be published follow this artificially created trend.

In what way is this trend “artificially” created? In my mind, an artificially created trend would be one that was being foisted on the public by the companies (perhaps to sell more product — fit more goodies on a page that has only one photo, for example?) — this “give us designs for more photos on a page,” a request from ordinary scrappers, would seem to be the OPPOSITE of an artificially created trend.

“Moments” pages – generally speaking, require more (or maybe it’s just different?) planning: getting the photo enlarged, for example. (Unless you scrap digital, which is another issue.) Doing some in depth journaling. For the average, scrapping-for-family-oriented, non publishing scrapper (and wouldn’t that type be the majority? in fact the type that financially supports the industry?), especially one with non-digital photos to scrap, enlargements may seem like too much: too much money, too much trouble. Especially the trouble, and especially with film: if you get 4x6s developed, you want to USE them, that’s what you have around.

As an aside, I do think people should note: getting a photo enlargement is not all that expensive (I’ve heard some people on boards recently talk about getting a 5×7 for $1.99 — good gravy, where are you buying yours? I get mine from Winkflash for 0.29) especially if you count that cost as an “embellishment.” So if you routinely buy a pack of three accents for $3, consider that an enlarged photo could easily be cheaper! (Even an 8×10″ for 1.99) Plus if you have a big photo, it generally takes center stage, and you need less extras with it. If scrapping is about the photos for you, enlargements may really make sense, at least of the “special” photos.

But back to the issue at hand. The “average” scrapper becomes easily overwhelmed at the thought of doing every page as a single photo layout. Because how could you ever get “caught up”? How much space do you actually have for albums in your house? It would easily become impractical for every one of your layouts to be like the majority in the magazines are.

I for one like moments pages. The in-depth journaling particularly appeals to me personally. However, when Becky Higgins’ sketch article seems to be one of the few places to highlight fitting more than just one overlarge photo, things do seem a bit lopsided, and I think offering more designs for more “typical” scrappers, and their more “typical” photos makes sense. Surely making things more accessible for non-professionals can only help, in keeping them happy, supporting the industry, and maybe even foraying into other aspects of the craft, whether more advanced techniques, design, whatever. And as far as the designers go, they can either A) take the opportunity to use their less than stellar photos themselves (or those of friends, etc) or B) try to stretch themselves creatively (I realize it can be a challenge, since it’s a limitation) and find ways to use those 4x6s. It’s clearly possible (see the Becky Higgins article in CK a couple months ago, full of layout sketches using only 4x6s).

I don’t think moments pages are going away, for all the reasons listed at the beginning of the post. The beauty of scrapbooking is the room for many different reasons and results. Obviously for you, the design/creativity aspect is foremost. For others, the “family album” is most important. And both are fine. In fact, it’s fine for people to choose to do some of each, and should be encouraged.

ETA: I left part of this entry as a comment on the post and got a clarifying response back from the author (yay, feedback, I love intellectual-type dialog), about the “artificial” thing. She’s using a more technical use of the term:

Please note that when I write Inside Scrapbooking it is intended from a professional designer’s perspective only. Therefore, when I note that the trend was “artificially created” as a marketing angle, I mean this in comparison to the typical way that trends in the industry have evolved in the past – with published designers leading the way with their creativity in their work creating the industry’s new direction. Professional designers are paid by publications for their creativity and vision, and have been the usual source of new creative direction for the industry. In this case, that new direction is being dictated to the designers who must actually provide the creative work for the publications – it is coming from outside that community instead of from within. THAT is why it is artificial – because it was not created by the people who are executing it, which is the usual way of the design industry.

As I acknowledged in my article, it is good for the industry to listen to the needs of ordinary scrappers and is a wise business move for these publications to go in this direction. But it is counter to the creative direction that the industry’s professionals would have taken on their own, I believe – thus the label of “artificial” from a *professional* viewpoint.

Naturally the blog as a whole is written from a professional designer perspective anyway. All so very interesting!

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