By Ronnie Mason
A graphic designer by trade, Ronnie's first loves are writing, photography and memory keeping. She lives in Sydney with her husband, Rick, and four of our five little boys. You can find Ronnie over at her personal blog, The Shoemaker's Daughter, a memoir named after her mother, and she is also the main author of the official LIFE:CAPTURED Inc blog - the place where you can find anything you need relating to photography, photo archiving and organising and memory keeping in general.
Chances are that many of you will already know about The 52 Project by our lovely friend Jodi (of the beautiful blog Practising Simplicity). In 2012, Jodi started taking weekly portraits of each of her two children, Che and Poet. She kept it up for every week of the year, and she came away with 52 beautiful portraits of each of her children - one for each of the 52 weeks. The next year, she invited her readers to join her and boy did they ever! I remember linking up in the first couple of weeks and being amazed that there were over two hundred women taking part. To this day, it remains one of the most popular linkups in the blogosphere, and I'm so proud of Jodi for being the pioneer of this wonderful project. What can be more precious than considered (regular) portraits of our children that capture and document their fleeting childhood?
There are no real rules for taking part. If you skip a week, it doesn't matter. If you take more than one portrait a week, that's fine too. If you don't have children, and want to take a weekly portrait of someone else you love, that's awesome! As for me, I decided that instead of individual portraits, I would try to capture all the boys in the one frame. This proved to be quite a challenge, but it was a good challenge, and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to capture their relationship with each other through the lens of my camera. I did this quite consistently for the first four months of the year and then when Bear was born in April, it fell off the radar for me a bit. The weekly portraits became (more or less) monthly ones, making each portrait even more precious.
Last year, I decided that I would create a story book from all my portraits from the series, along with the words that I wrote to go with each frame. I call this a 'story book' rather than just a 'photo book' because my focus is as much on the words as it is on the images. Seeing as all my portraits were landscape in orientation, it was almost a no-brainer to settle on the large landscape soft cover book by Artifact Uprising. I knew immediately that I wanted a full page image of each of the portraits on the left hand side, and that I would typeset the text on the right. By centering the text on the page, this ensured that each page of text looked nice and balanced regardless of whether I had a few lines of text or a few paragraphs of text. The photos were already all in black and white, and this helped to tie the entire story book together.
I'm so happy with how the book turned out. It is, quite literally, the perfect coffee table book. With Jodi's permission, this template is actually available for purchase in our shop. (You'll need Adobe InDesign to edit the software.) If you have any questions about it, just let me know in the comments below!