Directed & Shot by Rebel Film Productions
Many of you may be thinking to yourselves,
“…Okay I am assuming that an anthology is a book of some kind, but what does your anthology look like? What can I expect from working with you?”
And we totally understand where you are coming from because the act of preserving is not as present as it once was. We want to change that for you, for your children, and for your children’s children. This is for the people of 2050 who will not have had the opportunity to meet your amazingly hilarious mother or your passionate father. In their hunt to find old photos they will see a beautifully crafted box. They will stop in wonderment and their heart might skip a beat. There they will peel back the pages of your family’s most adored memories and their great grandmother’s voice will ooze off of the pages. They will be able to see the memories that make up their legacy and who have actually shaped who they are.
The fact is that we all aren’t going to live on forever and this life we are living is so precious. These memories that make your heart jump or give you chills running down your spine…they mean something and if we don’t conserve them right now they might evaporate along with the oldest of iPhones.
Upon looking up the exact definition of an anthology we found this:
- a published collection of poems or other pieces of writing.
- “an anthology of European poetry”
- a published collection of songs or musical compositions issued in one album.
We thought that google might construe the definition of what our definition is: a beautiful handmade album publishing a collection of your stories. But what we realized is that these two definitions coincide quite seamlessly. Along with your old photos of grandma and grandpa, we want to record their words or any thoughts you have from when you were little and climbing in their laps. As your hands slide over the beautiful matte paper with the photos right under your fingertips, you will turn the page and under a thin piece of velum, you will see your grandma’s words “I will always love you.” A tear might roll down your cheek and you know that you might not be able to hold onto her hand, but you can hold onto her spirit in her words.
That is what an anthology is all about, publishing a collection of important memories that you can hold onto forever.
How long does it take to create an anthology?
Each anthology is unique to it’s family. Our parents aren’t all hoarders with massive closets of photos, but some are…and we love those. Most anthologies take a minimum of 3 months to produce. This allotment of time is needed because we are including the process of collecting your photos, hearing the family stories, editing and distilling the best stories for the anthology, and editing to perfection. We know that you take your legacy very seriously so we are very precise on each detail of the process.
What exactly can you put in our anthology?
Each anthology is specifically curated to your story. A collection of images and text added as captions from your interviews are our starting point. If you have preserved artifacts, such as letters, newspaper clippings, train tickets, etc. we will include those where they fit best with the story. If you are looking to add an additional multimedia experience, we can partner with a videographer to collect your old family videos, from film reels to VHS to iphone videos. We can add a series of highlight videos of the whole package, all presented as one final work of art that will contain your entire family history in one beautiful library showpiece. There’s a saying that asks, “If your house were to burn down tonight, what precious objects would you be sure to take with you?” Your complete family history should be one of them, neatly packaged and ready to walk out the door with you.
I remember pacing back-and-forth in my bedroom.
“She’s going to think I’m crazy. I am crazy. Why am I doing this again? Ok stop thinking just press the freakin’ call button. O crap, she actually picked up.”
Let’s go back a little bit; Let’s say my wedding day on June 29, 2013. I was getting ready at my parent’s house. All I had really wanted that morning was to have all four of my grandparents with me, and sure enough they all sat at the kitchen table–the same table my parents had eaten every meal since before I was born–my grandfathers swapping stories and my grandmothers trying to relax, but really asking my mom about every 30-seconds if she needed anything.
I remember the moment that each of them saw me as a bride for the first time. My grandmothers helped place the heirloom jewelry, passed down from their own lives, onto my wrists. My Grandpa Altmann–he couldn’t wait–he snuck his head around the corner and caught just a glimpse before he started crying–his head buried in my veil. And as for my Grandpa Bellitto, well, I’ll never forget his face as he stepped out onto the porch; His eyes lit up as he opened his arms the way he always did when I was a kid, inviting me into his big bear hug.
I was thankful for those moments then, but I’m more thankful now. My Grandpa Bellitto passed away five months ago now. It was the first time I had to go through a process I had seen friends go through as their grandparents also began to ail and slowly let go. I was one of the lucky ones having been given the privilege to grow up listening to his lawyer stories–the ones he repeated since I was a kid sitting on his lap. I was told to have all four grandparents at my own wedding was something of a miracle, and indeed it was. Yet still, I can’t help but hold back tears at the thought that my kids will never meet my grandfather, he didn’t live to give them his bear hugs and tell him his stories. At least not in-person.
Funerals have a funny way of pulling old forgotten boxes that lead to a world of undiscovered moments; Whether it be in an attic or a basement or a hidden drawer, these pieces fill the time capsule of life.
I believe my grandfather was a huge influence in my career as a photographer. He always had a camera when my dad was growing up, and he left behind hundreds of prints for us to pour over and laugh at. But he also took advantage of a revolutionary new technology: The 8mm film camera, shooting reel-to-reel films in both black-and-white and color (a huge expense at the time) starting with one of the biggest milestones in his life- marrying my grandmother.
We sat at the dinner table and my father turned off the lights and placed a giant metal machine in the middle of the table. It whirred and spat out smelly gusts of smoke. It was magic. I watched my grandmother emerge from a washed out limousine as a gust of wind blew through her veil, she laughed and picked up her dress to walk up the steps. I felt like I was right there with her–like I could reach through the walls and touch her.
That’s what this is: Something tangible, something to transport you in time. It may have originated from my story, but what I’ve come to realize is that everyone has a story. They are stories full of life and love, and to build a product that takes you here, to this place where you feel like it all makes sense–why we are here and who we have become only by the actions of those who came before us–that’s what this is about.
You have your father’s hands or your grandmother’s eyes; Your heritage lives in you. To be an Archivist is to ensure that these stories never truly die, these people are never completely lost; They live on forever in a library of legacy.
On a cold day in January, I received a text message from Juliana requesting a time where we could talk on the phone. There was something odd though, something about the tone of this message, yet I could not put my finger on it. She sounded serious, which made me nervous. When she called me a few days later though, it was Juliana who sounded nervous.
She asked me how my job search was going. I told her “honestly, not great, I’m currently trying to create one full-time job out of three, but really its still part-time.” Unexpectedly, she responds happily about my unfortunate employment situation.
“Great! I have something to talk to you about.”
Juliana then delves into a whole story about her time in Portland and the discovery she made, not only about herself, but about what her business could be and what she had been striving to create all along without realizing it. I had an inkling I knew what she meant. Her current business had almost everything she loved, but what missing one crucial thing: The past.
By photographing weddings, and a variety of life sessions, she has been able to focus on the future and wonders of people beginning their lives together. What she had been missing though was a way to allow people to remember and reflect on the time that is gone, and the people and experiences they want to remember.
As she is talking more about this desire to include the past–to help people archive the photographs they already have, and tell the stories of the people they love–the more excited I become. This is a passion we share and, knowing Juliana, she is contacting me because she knows that. She knows that I am going to share her desire to turn it into a real object–a book for people to cherish for generations to come.
I didn’t even have to think about whether or not I would accept her offer to join her on this new path–I knew I would jump on board.
Growing up, I was always the one who wanted to hear the story about how two people met, to be told about an old photograph sitting in a prominent place on a shelf, or a delicate object that no one is allowed to touch. This was reflected in the books I read as a child, such as The Little House Books. In college, I created prints and books that were abstractly based on letters and the connections between people that I was close to, and the artifacts that mean the most to people.
This project then, is a way for Juliana and I to come together and combine our interests to create a unique anthology that will be cherished for a long time. What she proposed–in that very first phone call–we now present to you: A handmade leather-bound book that holds the stories, photographs, and artifacts of your family’s history preserved for generations to come personally curated by myself and those of us at Juliana Laury Archivists.
If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. -Steve Jobs