I’m not exactly sure why I started documenting life, but I’ve been doing it for long enough that I felt it was necessary to create a product that would highlight most of life’s contents thus far. It took more than a year of organizing and I used more than 800 photos and over 65 pages of reading material. Below, is an example of the formatting that follows at least half of the book.
I started the book with a quote by Kurt Vonnegut, an author I was reading at the time of making this. I start off with his quote, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, then I don’t know what is.’” I give a list of all the addresses I’ve ever lived at and also list out a template for the years of my life and where I was working at the time. One of the last pages of the book is my long-form work history up until this point.
The photo below is some overview from my ancestry results from 23andme. I found it most fascinating that the maternal side of my family was likely the result of the Agricultural Revolution that thrust human population into a surplus. I had read through Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens this year and loved the exploration of the evolution of our species. It was also convenient that I recently took part in a DNA ancestry kit, providing the information below.
For the creation of this book, I used Blurb’s software BookWright which allows you to use templates or create your own. I paid for a higher quality paper, the book is 12” x 12”, and it ended up costing around $200.
The first third of the book is a compilation of mostly photos from my childhood, whether it was a portrait from school, more formal family photos, or fun photos in the snow. Scattered between the photos are memories written about childhood; things to remember in case memory started getting distant. A few of them are specific stories, like the one shown below describing a swimming pool.
The following photos are selected content from specific years that provides example for the typical flow of the latter half of the book. I start with the year on one page, and on the page beside it I have a piece of my philosophical journey documented, with the first writing in 2011. The next spread consists of artwork from my top 25 favorite albums or songs that I heard that year on one side of the page, and then a poem I had also written that year. If I had journal entries from that year, I’d have them written on a two-column page. They varied in length from the shortest of a few sentences to a few paragraphs as the years went by. For parts of life like high school, I have sections devoted to certain topics such as school and church, whereas in college it’s more separated by experiences with friends and school and eventually work. I used a 9 x 9 grid for smartphone photos when I finally got my hands on one, and I show photos taken with both a dSLR and on film. I documented my time over in Korea and surrounding countries with both photos and writing, which I’ve also shown below. By the end of the book, I’ve created a spread of Proverbs, if you will; simply a list of stolen wisdom over the years of what I would consider truths to bring the utmost satisfaction to life.