Do you have a shoebox?


Today was a day of remembrance for my sweet neighbor and I couldn’t help being mesmerized by the slideshow of photos her family had gathered.  So many things I never knew about her and not one picture showing our mutual love for all things Starbucks.

I want to be clear I am posting this over here on The Stories We Tell because I didn’t want this to be mistaken for a sales pitch for photography services.  You don’t need to hire a photographer to gather your family’s life memories and preserve your family history.  You just need a camera (disposable, point & shoot, cell phone, mirrorless, or DSLR) to get the job done.  THEN YOU PRINT YOUR PHOTOS.  Say what? PRINT them.  Every few months gather around the shoebox and physically hold these memories in your hands.  Watch your children’s face light up as they see pictures they don’t remember or have never seen before.  Continuously add to the box.  Make a commitment to have these memories for your children and even more important your future grandchildren.  When your children are grown and leave the nest, make sure they take their shoebox with them.

Chloe has a box like this in her room, well at the moment it’s a beautiful walnut wood box way too small, but you know what I mean.  It wasn’t until today I realized I only included memories from the last 2 or so years.  We also have some memory books of Chloe’s life we pull out from time to time.  She likes to tell me the stories of the pictures.  She tells me who is in the pictures and what they are doing, no electronics needed.  She likes to ask me questions about them if she doesn’t remember the moment. Who is that?  How old was I in this picture?  When is grandma (or whoever is in the picture) coming to visit me?  Tonight I decided I am going to pull out some of the older albums.  The ones of mommy & daddy in college, the ones where we got married and ran off to New Orleans to visit the zoo, the ones where we took a trip to Hawaii.  All of these are memories from before she was born, but those deserve to be in the shoebox as well. In the end all you are left with are the memories in your mind and the pictures.

Do you have a shoebox?
the shoebox


colie james documentary family photographer denver

Colie is a storytelling documentary family photographer living the good life in Boulder, Colorado with her husband of fourteen years, James, and their daughter Chloe. She loves to tell the true stories of her clients, just as they are. While her love of photography started long before the birth of her daughter, it has taken on a life of its own as she strives to capture all of her own moments and now her clients. Colie is also the instructor of the photography workshops: The Art of Telling Stories and The Business of Telling Stories. Besides photography, she loves espresso, Thai food, any movie with Denzel Washington, and traveling.




  • Kelly - Colie this is so true..I also recently lost a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in person for 30 years..last summer we planned a reunion at Disneyland with two other friends, and between the airline purchase in July and the trip in October, she had an unexpected diagnosis. She couldn’t go to California..The other three of us made a tough decision to still go to celebrate life, and we brought a life sized mounted image of smiling Shannas face and we took her on every ride. She was in all of the photos taken by Disney photographers, and after the trip we surprised her with a book of those images. They made her laugh.. .and in her last week I was able to send her some photos from our college days in San Diego, that I dug out of my “shoebox of memories.” It’s important.. It makes a difference, and her daughter now has those pictures of her mom from before she met her dad.. So yes, print your photos..and write the stories down, too… Thanks for sharing this post..ReplyCancel