The year was 1997, the first annual calendar I created for my Mom. Photography was still film, at least for me. But I had a scanner, and a neat new program a friend of mine had given me called Adobe Photo Deluxe. (later to become Photoshop) So I set to work, creating something to bring her closer. (She lived in Michigan, I am here in Oregon)
Looking back, I see that I just jumped into this medium with both feet. Talking about the Bubblegirls image below: I remembered the image, what I didn’t remember was that was in that very first creation. I still think it was one of my best efforts, because of the simplicity of the photo. And it still tells a great story.
Those first years I spent a lot of time learning the Photoshop program, sorting thru my own photos to scan them and brainstorming neat vignettes for each calendar page. I also learned how to make the Printshop calendar tool work for me, to create clean but custom calendar number pages. To date, PS is still the best editing program for me for this chore.
When I got my first digital camera, it was a Canon Elf that was about the size of my cell phone. It had a whopping 4 mp images ! But I was soon hooked on the ease of use. And I waited for the equipment to get better, because it always does. The calendars for these years were a combination of scanning and digital images. I found myself taking family photos during the year with the calendar pages in mind. Of course there were changes and improvements in the Photoshop programs too. Along the way, thru trial and error I learned how to make each new feature work for me. As the project evolved, I began to include my siblings and my Mom-in-Law as recipients of my annual Christmas gift. I put the family birthdays on the calendar pages too.
The last year the calendar appeared as a family album with family photos was 2007. This was the year that my Mom died. She received the calendar for Christmas 2006, but never got to use it. She became ill in January and died in April. The below image was one of the last of that type that I made. The photos are: an actual photo of Mt. Hood enhanced, cutouts of 1st Grandson, Hubby, white pickup truck and semi-truck Hubby drives.
When it came time to sit down and create the 2008 calendar, I just didn’t have the heart to make a family photo calendar. The calendar evolved again, and began to become what it is today. When I decided to try for my dream of being a paid artist / photographer, I found a way to include my created calendars in my portfolio. In fact, much of my early work I offered for sale came from the calendar files. Its still true today, as I sit down every fall to make the new edition for my family. And just one more note on that family version; its now called the Sharon’s photographic calendar, the birthdays include 45 dates from friends and family living here in the Pacific NW, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Florida.
Pictured in the gallery for this post is the version I offer for sale at the shows I participate in, including Grapevine Graphics, and on my webpage (soon, but please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a copy now ! ) I will have the calendar available as a desktop wallpaper too.
* click on the first thumbnail image to open the gallery and view the photos full size with captions