Past Picture Perfect: how old pictures can freshen up online content & help tell your story

Image credit: Flickr Vintage Photos Pool

Welcome new contributor and PR rockstar Amy Flurry, author of Recipe for Press, for her first OMHG post she is sharing some wonderful ideas for telling your story through pictures of the past! 

If I named my organizational style it would be the “pile and tub” system.  There are piles of magazines, piles of paperwork and piles of craft projects around me, but I’m comfortable with them because I know what lurks in the layers. If it gets out of hand, I shuffle through them and purge. I like paper, but I also like being able to put my hands on things when I need them. Photographs that I intend to save—until that glorious day when I can archive them beautifully in a handmade scrapbook— are dumped into plastic tubs in my closet.  It’s a system that works for me and digital images have really kept those numbers manageable.

During my annual spring clean, I pulled out a tub of photographs with some dating ten, fifteen and even twenty years back. There were pictures from my first internship in the offices of Sassy magazine in New York (Chloe Sevigny filled my spot the next semester) and there were Polaroids from the magazine shoots for Country Living that I had produced in my late twenties. I sat there thinking about how these images really tell my story; they show exactly where I had my editorial start and just how long I’ve been in this game! And now I’m culling through that backlog and planning stories and ideas around some of them for my blog and Facebook posts.

We’re likely all sitting on years of old pictures that could shed light on our story and give context to where we are now. These pictures may also inspire new posts! And today we have a host of social media outlets in which to share them.

Remember, the one thing that differentiates your work and experience from everyone else on the planet is your story.  And you have to practice the many different ways of telling it to put you out front. How might you repurpose pictures from the past? Here are a few ideas:

Now and then

Every now and I again I happen upon picture of my old studios and office equipment. There’s my first Apple laptop and the stack of cassette tapes! In one shot I’m talking on a corded phone.

past picture perfect, amy flurry

Today I have a banana-yellow, retro handset designed David Turpin that plugs into my iPhone. Then there’s the retro cassette iPhone case popular among my friends. As an editor I might use my pictures, coupled with the crisp new product shots to connect an idea.

Trends on the rebound

If the theory that trends seem to cycle every twenty years is true, then the current 80s-styling color blocking, neons and the moustache will give way to the nostalgia of the 90s. Do you see any influence in your current work to grunge?  This plaid pillow from Etsy seller Lesley Robertson is made out of a recycled shirt (the remote has a home in the shirt pocket!) This is a magazine article waiting to happen!

past picture perfect, amy flurry

Recycled My Ride

Remember your parents Airstream and the funny family vacations.  You begged your dad to get with the program and ditch the funky guzzler.  Today, the food truck revolution has ushered in a new era of Airstream cuisine and now we’re seeing a whole new movement of mobile craft studios and shops.

past picture perfect, amy flurry

Check out The WonderCraft, a handmade shop and studio on wheels based in Austin, Texas. For more on Stella (the Airstream) and the friends behind this idea, visit their blog and notice how they used old photos to show how they’ve developed a new logo.

Inspired to bust out your old pictures? Have a great example to share? Tell us your ideas & thoughts for using Past Picture Perfect in the comments! And be sure to welcome new contributor (and publicity expert + published author) Amy Flurry to our contributor community! 

7 comments

  1. Jasmine Pahl says:

    I love the idea of looking into my past to find present inspiration, especially if I can organize a few bins while I’m at it! And you are so right, we often don’t realize how much the details of everyday life have changed until we are shocked by an old image.
    How I miss the Sassy days!
    Thanks for the morning smile and call to action!

  2. Sara says:

    Thanks for the reminder that “story” is so important to our products and brand. I’ve been working on this and get discouraged, thinking my story is pretty bland and boring. But who am I to judge?! I’ll give more thought to this by going through old pictures, as you suggest. Great article!

  3. We are intimately connected to our story and what we have experienced – it is what makes us who we are. If we have a biz, our audience wants to know about us – this could be a perfect opportunity to share! It’s also about revisiting old ideas – occasionally I’ll haul out all my old visual diaries from art school, and look through them again. Lots of interesting ideas to revisit, and these can grow and move in different directions with my increased experiences and skills.

  4. June Shin says:

    Amy, great to see you as a new contributor here! Love the idea of going back to find things that contribute to your story and brand. It allows us to connect with our customers on another level than just our products or services.

  5. Amy Flurry says:

    So happy to be a part of this community and to share ideas. As an editor of 15 years, I am always trying to find the part of someone’s story that works for the publication I’m writing for. But as editors of our own blogs and websites, part of our job is to tell our story. We can roll it out at our own pace, but looking back to where we were five, ten or more years ago can jumpstart an idea to share or may simply reveal something we needed ourselves!

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