art, photography, review

My yearbook arrived!

It’s a tradition to create a yearbook by the end of each year containing the essence of the past year. This book does not necessarily have the best images taken during the given year. Instead, it’s a review of the year. I’m trying to have images from significant activities like trips, vacations, and special events to remind me of these activities.

I just got the book. The book has 100 pages and to create it, I worked through my images from 2022 again. In the past, I already explained the process of how I narrow down the images to find the essence of the relevant year. This year this wasn’t different. But, the number of images was quite high because of the number of wildlife images i.e. from Namibia.


I really love this type of photobook for creating my yearbook, although the manufacturer is quite expensive and the software running inside the web browser is very inflexible and kind of a torture to use. Having this kind of front page is unique and only available from that one company.


This is, how my yearbook looked before I got to know that manufacturer respectively before they came up with the cut-out year numbers. You read right, the numbers are cut out and you can see an individual image behind the digits. The chestnut on the front of the black book below is also created that way. But it’s less attractive than having the year named on the front and seeing my own images shining through the digits.

These yearbooks are a fantastic opportunity to remember the really important activities or trips in a certain year like vacations or photo outings.

Now I have a few pages from my 2022 yearbook to show you, how such pages look like. Each page is approximately DIN A4 (= 21×29,7 cm = appx. 8,27×11,7 in). You can click on the images below to enlarge them.

I don’t use photo paper or lay-flat bindings for my books anymore. First, lay-flat binding is only possible with thick pages. These pages look more like card-box than book pages. Next, when using photo paper, the pages often stick so tight to each other that you risk damaging the pages when haven’t looked through the book for some time.  In addition, I don’t like the thicker material when turning the pages and the glossy surface creates disturbing reflections that make it hard to watch the images. Thus, I use digital print and regular paper.

The books are usually more or less chronologically created and the contents of both sides should (have to) complement each other. I also try to ensure the same dominating colors and/or mood/ambiance on both sides.

In total, the creation process took about a week. Not full-time 😊. As I explained on the other page, I copy all developed images into a special folder of my disk and make sure the filenames follow the same structure: YYYYMMMDDD_hhmmss-xxxxxx.jpg. So, they are already in the right order. Next, I’m resetting the star ratings. This time, there were nearly 4,000 images in the folder. Now, I start rating the images again. In the end, there were 2,000 left with 1 star. The next day, I reviewed the images rated with one star again and ended with 300 having now two stars. On the next day, I reviewed these 300 again and gave 3 stars to the keepers. In case, there are still too many images in the folder, a fourth and fifth iteration can help.

Thus I ended with 150 images to populate the book 😀. The final steps are uploading the images to the web and placing them on the pages, reviewing the final product, putting it in the shopping cart, checking it out, paying, waiting for delivery, and enjoying the final product after delivery.

Maybe, I was able to inspire you to dig in your archive and find some images, you can publish your images on your blog and set a link to John’s inspiration post. Don’t forget to tag it with LENS-ARTIST, so we can find it.

Although it’s a lot of work, I love this process. A whole year gathered right at my fingertips and considering, which of the images represents a valuable memory. A few years ago, I told you about two mice (scroll down that page to find it).

There’s a kid’s tale about a group of mice. All of them were working hard during summer and fall to collect food for the winter. But, one of them was not working that hard as the others did. Instead, he was looking around for the sun, the green grass, the colorful leaves in fall, and listened to the wind and the birds. The other mice were complaining to get the one mouse to help them. I do, the one mouse said. I’m collecting memories. And when the dark and cold winter days came, he was able to cheer the other up by telling them about the warmer days. He told them, how the wind sounded and smelled. Which colors the leaves have had and how the sun rays felt on their backs. That way all of them survived the hard winter.

That’s what I do, I’m collecting memories. Memories are important. Today, I’m about to go out and travel. A time might come when I’m not able to do so either because of a lack of money or because of health problems. When I was much younger I was told, what you have learned, can nobody steal. First hand this sounds right. But, in the meantime, I know about a thief stealing your memories: dementia. Several years ago, my wife lost her mother first to dementia, then her father. This disease is cruel. Not only to the victim but also to the people around them, friends and family. The disease attacks the victim’s brain. The most recent memories die first. That way, the victim goes back in time. At some point their children will no longer be recognized, then their partner. Sometimes it can happen, a child might be addressed by the name of a victim’s sibling or parent because of the family similarity. You know, my wife is working in a pension home as a care assistant and works with elderly people to keep their brains active as long as possible. So, she is quite often faced with the symptoms of this cruel disease. A person might have recognized her yesterday during her visit, but today she is completely unknown to the person.

A yearbook can bring back some memories, just like told in the story of the mice. Looking at images taken during a beach vacation can bring back memories i.e. how the sand felt when walking bare feet along the surf, how the air smelt when leaving the plane, or the taste of a wonderful dish at a warm night in a restaurant near the harbor. I guess you can name many more similar memorable events. File them and keep them to cheer you up when you need a cheer.

Although it takes more room, it’s still usable without any technical device. Different from a book with images taken on a certain trip or event, the yearbook represents all memorable events of a year and can tell, what you have done during that year. Don’t get me wrong, I also have a lot of books dedicated to certain destinations and I really love them. But, the yearbook has the essence, distilled from the bulk.

Take care!