For a few years when I was a young girl, my mother was a Sunday School teacher. She loved it and had a unique platform for explaining different cultures around the world. The Storyboard.
Basically, it started with a 3 x 3-foot board covered with felt. Then she had spent hours sourcing magazines and newspapers for images of people, houses, cars, baskets, animals, and just about anything anyone would use in their everyday life, anywhere in the world and cut them out, carefully pasting them onto thin cardboard and last but not least… applying the felt.
If, for instance, she was talking about how people in an African country celebrated Christmas, she’d place all the cut outs on the storyboard to display a scene. Then she’d talk to the scene and ask the Sunday School children to contribute to the story. She’d invite them to move the cut outs on the board around to help them to visualize the story, to become involved.
Ponga ignited that memory for me. I wondered; how can I take that concept from a 1960s Sunday School class and weave it with Ponga? The Ponga Storyboard idea was born.
Creating a scene…setting the stage… I became the director of my family stories.
Below is one of my storyboards… My great grandparents migrated to Canada in the early 1900s. At different times. It’s an interesting, and in some ways still shrouded in mystery.
Here, I’ve collaged John Joseph and Esther Alice as they looked after they migrated. Along with photos of The Black Dog Pub and Maria Square in Belmont Lancashire England. Both significant places in my family story. Ponga recognises faces and does it beautifully. I wanted my scene to give some of the back story for John Joseph and Esther Alice.
The next shows my grandmother, Esther Alice Helme and her three sisters in travel dress of the day. I set the scene for their Atlantic crossing from Liverpool to Montreal. I had the ship’s manifest, and a postcard of the ship named the Grampian to complete the stage decoration. Ponga recognises the faces and I fill in the story.
Last but not least… the 4 sisters in 1914 and then again in 1974. Behind the two photographs is an image of the High Street in Belmont Lancashire. Home to the girls before they migrated. The stage is set.
Storyboard 60 years and still together: 60 years between photos-the 4 sisters celebrating my Grandmother’s birthday. (Music: Guitalele’s Happy Place by Stefan Kartenberg © copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.)
It’s not difficult. I’m not a graphic designer. I’m more like a surgeon with a piece of string and a popsicle stick.
I used PowerPoint to create my Storyboards…
1. Open PowerPoint (or whatever program you like to use. Paint works too)
2. Start a new Presentation
3. Choose a design, add a background image or even a coloured or textured background
4. Add all the images that you want to include in your storyboard, including the images of the people. (you’re creating a new image for Ponga to work its facial recognition magic on)
5. Go wild with it, have fun, play with it
6. Once you have it exactly right… save the presentation as a jpg. Simple. Now you’ve got a whole new image to upload to Ponga
Ponga will either automatically recognise the faces, or you will need to identify them yourself in the Gallery. Same as always.
Now it’s time to add comments, links, information, and the special stories for the other images in the storyboard, tell the story, bring your personal storyboard to life.
Why do this? Why Storyboards? There may be people, young or old, who you share these storyboards with who will learn for the first time about the story, the scene will be new, and the entire show will entertain.
Presented as a guest post. For more about Victoria’s Press and her writing, visit the Blog | Victoria’s Press or Instagram.com/victoriaspress. For more about Ponga, explore ponga.com. If you’d like to contribute a guest post to this blog, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we share the details we find in pictures, clues lead from one story to the next. Connecting the dots with context and memories we soon reconnect as a family. Having reached out to my tier-one and tier-two relatives, siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews, I experienced pure unadulterated joy. Their comments, remembrances, and reconnections have been beyond amazing. I invited my family to the storyboard albums I’d created, …Then… I remembered Myrna. The game was afoot!
Following these steps will help you get your photos in order. Once you have the physical artifacts organized, you can digitize your collection and will be ready to get your digital collection into Ponga where you automatically organize them by person and start sharing your photos and the stories that go with them.
How does identifying the individual(s) in one photograph benefit my research? It’s more than curiosity. I want to be able to tell those individuals’ stories! I want to know the family stories contained within those old family photographs.