• Ania Krzymowska

The power of photo album, family history story

Ever since I remember there was a treasure in our family. Once in a while my mum would show us a blue album. With a great care she would turn black thick pages with see trough delicate pages between and tell us short story about each and every person peeking out of album windows. Album was passed from generation to generation. It eventually ended up in my custody.

Each photograph has it’s own story, each person is somehow connected to our family. I will give you the essence. Mum would tell us a lot, but it always amazed me how much of a little detail my grandmother knew.

I managed to make some notes before she has passed away few years ago.

Along with the album I had a collection of various paperwork – letters, receipts, notes, even a locket. My favourite piece was my great grandfather’s medical diploma from most prestigious university in Poland – Uniwersytet Jagiellonski in Krakow. Dr Wlodzimierz Mendlowski was father to my great grandmother- Maria Pilipionek.

The oldest person in the album is Wilhelm Seidl (1850-1915). There is an image of him as an older man with very distinctive mustache and always serious face- I think it was normal form to be serious for a photograph. He had very important job – he was a judge and a president of jurisdiction system in the country. (Prezydent Sadu Krajowego) Wikipedia link

(Wilhelm Seidl- second from the right, little girl at the bottom-my great grandmother Maria. Wilhelm was Maria’s grandfather.)

There are also photographs of my great grandmother – a very modest village teacher, aspiring poet, a sensitive soul (I have read some of her poems – mostly about people unlucky in life and poor children). She had a difficult life and unhappy marriage.

I have met my great grandmother-Maria when I was little and she was always lovely to me, always had this polish delight – pierniki. She always seemed a very sad, quiet lady. I do have her photograph when she was a little baby.

Since I became a professional photographer I could look at those images from different angle.

It is so exciting that actually I can research each photography atelier/studio/artist. I can just take a google ride and read interesting stories – how they worked, where and I can see their different styles. Photographs have studio information either on their little frame or at the back.

Dr Wlodzimierz Mendlowski and family dog Trefl.

House in Gliniany, Poland(at the time)

a very special locket

Well done my ancestors! Thank you so much for recording those few moments, giving a glimpse of your lives. I will pass it all on to my son when he is ready.

I always tell my clients that they are not getting an album for themselves, they are getting it for their children and grandchildren, which I truly believe. It is something that will be passed from generation to generation, something that will bring family closer, start conversations. Albums I offer are beautifully hand made and designed. Each spread is very carefully chosen. Even if you decide not to get albums – please do print your images, create your own albums, scrapbooks. Digital images are great, you can print from them, but please do not leave them to gather dust in your drawer. Digital images are not archival, they do corrupt. Printing images will give you much better confidence, that those images will survive many years.

~My designed and handmade albums, for generations~

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