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A Pop Up by Project Memory

Updated: Jul 24

by Rylee Whited

 

In this essay, I will dramatize Project Memory’s first ever in-person pop up event (Photo Journal Together), with the intent of earning “Dramatic Literature” skill endorsements on LinkedIn as well as wide-spread adoration. Kidding! Mostly.


The conception of this article began with the following question: how can I best capture the experience of Project Memory’s Pop Up Event? I didn’t want the newsletter to brush over it with generalizations, such as “it was a blast,” “many beautiful albums were created that day,” or “the event space was perfect.” While all these statements may be true, I wanted those who weren’t able to attend to get a real glimpse into the event.


When I presented this to Aneri, she couldn’t get through it without stopping to laugh. From there, we asked our Instagram community if they wanted to read the dramatization of the Pop Up themselves. Overwhelmingly, the verdict was a yes. So here we are - what began as a lengthy newsletter has evolved into a full-blown blog post. The original, toned down version is also included at the bottom: The Abridged Version.


Enough of my ramblings and musings - let’s skip to the good part.

 
Unabridged Version

DISCLAIMER: Best read while in your most day-dreamy, romanticizing, Taylor Swift’s Lover kind of brainspace. To help you get the most out of this read, here is the is the playlist I compiled and listened to while writing in order to enter the correct brain space: Dramatized Romanticism


Have you ever been to a Project Memory Pop Up?

No?

Let me describe it to you...

The Project Memory Pop Up Event was hosted on an unseasonably warm, sunny day. Paired with the predictable San Francisco breeze, it was a wonderful day for a walk through the city.


Stepping out your doorstep, you pause to bask in the golden warmth of the sun. A quick shift of your sunglasses, and you’re on your way. Upon arrival, you are let into the lobby of a glamorous, shining skyscraper. You exit the elevator onto the 19th floor and can already hear music from the curated Project Memory playlist drifting through the hallway from around the corner.


As you near the main event space, you take in your new surroundings. Instead of walls, there are floor to ceiling windows, bright with afternoon light and an expansive view of the Bay. The view is complemented by sleek, modern decor - a large marble slab countertop in the kitchenette, art deco light fixtures dangling from the ceiling, and plush, contemporary seating all work to create a warm, inviting space. You even catch the scent of a lavender sandalwood candle wafting through the air, mixing with the subtle smell of paper and ink.



In the kitchenette area, you are offered a drink, shown the snacks, and given the choice of your very own Chronicle photo journal. Opting for a mimosa, you glance around at the event space, the ambiance of which fills you with a rush of creativity. You notice a few pods of people around the room. Most seem to be gathered around the large, circular table in the corner of the room. Photos, colored markers, stickers, and paper scraps take up any table space not occupied by a photo journal. Another pod sits at the marble counter, taking advantage of the abundance of smooth surface available (and the nearby snacks). The smallest group stands at the windowsills to get the best lighting for their curation.


You decide to sit at the marble counter, spreading out your pre-printed 4x6 photos. Unsure where to start, you strike up a conversation with the memorykeeper next to you. She’s working on an album for her boyfriend, who is currently across the country 2,500 miles away. You can tell how much they mean to each other with just a quick look through her partially completed photo journal.



In search of more stories, you wander over to the circular table. The next person you talk to is filling his photo journal with memories of his childhood dog who recently passed away. Knowing this, it’s bittersweet seeing the first few pages of puppy photos. As you walk around the room, you see photo journals made for birthdays, exciting trips across the world, four-year recaps of college experiences, and even the beginning of an entire human life. Taking in all these stories and narratives gives you an idea for your own.



When you sit back down with your Chronicle, you begin curating your pile of photos, planning your photo journal’s layout, and creating journal cards. It takes a couple hours to craft your photo journal, all the while making friendly conversation with fellow memorykeepers. There’s a unique kind of energy that is generated when people come together to share stories and bounce ideas off one another.


People finish their photo journals at different intervals throughout the day. You see those who finish sooner break off to play Bananagrams, and you take a break to join in for a round. Laughing with strangers while uplifting music floats through the air brings a new kind of joy that you haven’t felt in a while.



When you complete your Chronicle, you move to the flat lay photo booth station to document your beautiful work. With a little gentle guidance, you find the perfect angles to capture your memories. You even do a flip through video of your photo journal, pausing to point out your favorite photos.


At the end of the day, you leave with your Chronicle and the memory of a day spent reminiscing.



 
The Abridged Version

After walking a couple blocks in the San Francisco sun and wind, you exit the elevator onto the 19th floor of a skyscraper. Instead of walls, there are floor to ceiling windows, bright with afternoon light and an expansive view of the Bay. You hear music from the curated Project Memory playlist drift towards you as you take in the vaulted ceilings, white marble countertops, and modern decor.


You're offered a drink and given the choice of your very own Chronicle photo journal. Glancing around the room, you see a few pods of people. Some are laying out their photo prints at the round table in the corner of the room. Others are gathered at the window sills to get the best lighting. You opt for the vast marble counter so you can spread out your photos (and be closer to the snacks).


Throughout the day, you put together your photo journal and make friendly conversation with your fellow memorykeepers. When you complete your photo journal, you move to the flat lay photo booth station to document your beautiful work. You leave with your Chronicle and the memory of a day spent reminiscing.



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