How do you explain death and loss to a five year-old? Honestly, I have no idea, but when my grandson Rigel arrived late on Friday evening with his loving parents (who came to help me with my Jim's funeral and memorial service), he already knew. He said in a somber voice, as we were getting ready for bed, "I know Grandpa Jim is dead." Caught off guard for a moment, I collected myself and I knew the time was right.
"It's so sad," I said to Rigel. "we will miss him terribly, but you know what? Before Grandpa Jim died, he left you something very special." I got up and fetched Jim's pocket watch...it wasn't a family heirloom...or anything very expensive. It was just a watch that Jim loved because it had a train on the front and it reminded him of the watch Ernest Borgnine wore in his favorite train movie, to make sure the train ran on time. "He wanted you to have this, Rigel, and also this train engineer hat."
Fortunately, my son Attila snapped some photos as Rigel caressed and then held up his new treasure. I was so touched by the sweetness of this little boy, who somehow seemed to understand what adults couldn't explain. -I just had to make art with this moment.
I was one of the winners of a scrapbooking sketch design contest on Let's Scrap (hooray!) and it was my turn to put together a scrapbook layout based on my own sketch. I knew that I wanted to use these wonderful photos, but the sketch called for four images, and I only had three. Hmmm...how to create a fourth photo?I also wanted to place the focus on the watch, and Rigel's tender handing of it, so I decided to apply some clever cropping techniques to acomplish both tasks.
My favorite photo was the one where Rigel caresses the watch so sweetly, but his eyes look closed, and I wanted the storytelling to focus on the watch, so I cropped it to this: See how the attention goes immediately to those sweet hands, once the distractions are eliminated.
The photo where Rigel holds up the cover of the watch with the relief of the train on it was such a great close-up, that I felt it needed to be the 5x7 main photo on the far right of the sketch. It also needed it to be transformed from a vertical photo to a horizontal one. The cropping placed an even greater emphasis on the train & the watch itself. I tweaked it a bit in Photoshop so that the image of Rigel became slightly out of focus and fell into the background...which is just the look I was going for. So I turned this photo into the image below it.
The next photo of Rigel, as he's showing the face of the watch is so precious, with those cute little fingers, that I turned it into two images, with entirely different emphasis. There's my fourth photo! I placed them on the layout cleverly in a way that it is not obvious that they are both the same photo.All put together, with some really wonderful cut-outs from Graphic 45 scrapbooking papers and some metal accents, the layout finally fell together, and I was able to honor this beautiful, poignant moment, while paying justice to the winning sketch as well.
The journaling on the bottom reads: "What a special gift Grandpa Jim left Rigel ~ the gift of Remembrance." The 5x7 horizontal photo is also a pocket in which I can tuck a personal message for Rigel to read one day.
So don't be afraid to crop your photos...often "less is more," and sometimes the less you show of an image, the more impact it can make. -It's all about effective storytelling with your photos.
I hope you like my winning sketch and that you will be inspired to create a scrapbook layout of your own with it!
Tell your story... Enikö