Scrapbooking, the Doomsday Machine


The world is not going to collapse from the accumulated weight of National Geographics, but instead from the mass of photo albums and scrapbooks documenting every day life. The problem is that each succeeding generation adds its photo albums to all photo albums accumulated since the beginning of photography. Eventually, the total weight of scrapbooks and photographs will exceed the weight of the earth, with cataclysmic consequences.

The first photo albums were created in the 1850’s, and in the early 1900’s more than a million photo albums were made each year. By the 2000’s, over 100 million photo albums and photo books were being created each year. At this rate of growth, the total mass of photo albums will exceed the mass of the earth in less than a thousand years. We have a serious problem.

Here is my solution:

  1. Create meaningful albums that combine multiple events, rather than individual albums that have greater combined weight.
  2. Minimize the use of superfluous stickers, paper, and decorations that increase weight.
  3. Develop a scrapbook recycling program to donate scrapbooks to those in need.
  4. Create photo books instead of scrapbooks. They are lighter.
  5. Support space research so that we can transport scrapbooks to other planets.

We need to be creative. Please let me know if you have any other solution to the growing scrapbook and photo album problem.

By the way, I have no idea what I am going to do with the huge number of photo albums my parents have created.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
This entry was posted in Photo Books, satire, Scrapbooking. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Scrapbooking, the Doomsday Machine

  1. Debbie says:

    How were you able to work for Creative Memories if you had these feelings?

  2. Bunnie Cleland says:

    You could do what my grandmother did with her ancestors pictures. Leave them in the basement till they are moldy and unrecognizable.
    Bigger hardrives are my basement.

  3. Jill McLeester says:

    I envision the year 2040. We all have a hologram reader inbedded in our right forefinger. We all have a hologram transmitter inbedded in our left forefinger. There is a new ap out this year that allows us to take hologram shots by winking our right eye. The ap also adds the shots we do not delete by winking our left eye to be sent to our transmitter and from there to anyone we want. There will be no paper for anything anymore. Not books, not calendars, not photos. The world will be saved by all that weight gone.

  4. You’re so funny, Mark! I guess when the cloud fills up, it’ll start raining page prints. đŸ™‚

  5. Dawn says:

    Hilarious! I am a definite contributor to this “problem!”

  6. Mary B. says:

    I can remember CM meetings when someone would announce that she had finished her 100th album, and everyone clapped! I thought, “Oh, No! Who wants 100 albums?” My answer: be much more selective! My most valuable album (and the one my kids want copies of) is one page per year. I have 45 years of my family’s life in one 8.5×11 album. That the one I’d grab if my house was burning down!

    • Sherrie says:

      Mary, I am very curious to know how you select and condense your year into one 8.5×11 page?

      • Mary B. says:

        Well, I call it my “Highlights” album, and it only shows the highlights of my family’s year. Most pages have 4-6 pictures. I’ve written a handout about it, but I don’t know if I can post a one-page document as a comment. Who could I ask? Are you on Facebook? I’d be happy to share.

  7. Margie Wight says:

    I’m not so sure, Mark. If the younger generation is anything like my daughters, nieces and great nieces there won’t be any additional weight because they don’t do squat with their photos. They put them in “clouds”, share them on facebook and through drop boxes. Their images are just floating around in cyberspace somewhere. SCARY!

  8. Nicole says:

    When the zombies attack my 68 completed scrapbooks will make excellent fuel to keep the cave warm. I won’t care, ’cause the zombies will have eaten my brain.

  9. Kaye Rhodes says:

    I try not to do album pages about the shoes in my closet or what I ate for breakfast. I also try to avoid pages with only one photo. That’s my contribution to the problem of overpopulating the earth w/ scrapbooks.

  10. I have re-thought my original “scrap every detail” philosophy. I’m aiming for the highlight’s approach and will hopefully fall close to that! That took a lot of stress out of my “job”!!!!

  11. Marianne says:

    I disagree with number 1. I like individual scrapbooks with certain things grouped together this way it does reduce the mundane everyday photos and just includes the highlights of more interesting photos every year

  12. Pingback: Highlights Album | All About Images Blog

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