Kabie family history book

The Treasures We Leave Behind

“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.”― Entrepreneur and inspirational author Steve Saint

There are many ways to tell your story: In words, in photographs—and even in the recipes that are inextricably linked to memories of holiday celebrations and other family gatherings. I realized this when a client came to highresolution printing in 2007 with an unusual project that began as a stack of 3” X 5” index cards on which his late mother had written recipes for appetizers, desserts and the Passover meal that would accompany the bitter herbs, hard-boiled egg and other symbolic items on the Seder plate. His mother, Lois, was an excellent cook, and he wanted to honor her memory, as well as to perpetuate the food-related family rituals she had created over the years for generations of her family to come.

So he had a team of designers create a cookbook from the index cards, recipes she had clipped from newspapers and magazines, and photographs of the finished dishes. The designers had arranged these loose items on linen—to simulate a crisp tablecloth—and converted them into digital images.

"Made With Love" cookbook of family recipes

The texture of the linen gives the images a homey feel, and visually ties together a hodgepodge of cards, clippings and photographs. The images were digitally printed on 100# Cougar Cover and assembled into a Wire-O bound book of 64 pages that could be laid flat on the kitchen counter to make it easier for cooks to follow the recipe instructions. We printed 300 copies of the 6″ x 9″ recipe book, which the client titled, “Made with Love.”

highresolution recently designed and printed 80 copies of another collection of family recipes—this time for Tourbillon, a network of 19 boutiques worldwide that sells the luxury watch brands owned by The Swatch Group, including Breguet, Blancpain and Omega. The recipes were contributed by 37 managers who lived in different countries, and the book was distributed at Tourbillon’s 4Q sales meeting as a memento for the participants. Trading recipes is a getting-to-know-you activity that is much less likely to get anyone in trouble than “two truths and a lie,” especially when a variety of cultural sensibilities must be taken into account.

Tourbillon cookbook of recipes contributed by company managers

The book, titled “2015 Recipes of Success,” was digitally printed on 100# coated cover that was gloss film laminated so spills and splatters would wipe off easily. The pages are spiral bound between covers printed on 130# coated cover that is also laminated. The 8½” X 5½” book has a nice heft to it, and can open 360 degrees to make it easy to read the recipes.

It’s All There in Black & White

Growing up, I don’t think I ever saw my father, Harvey Drucker, without a camera around his neck. His darkroom was (I think) the bathroom in our apartment, so he was able to develop and print only a handful of his photographs.

His photos, which were taken in the late 50s and early 60s, captured the dichotomy between the workaday the glamorous that co-existed side-by-side in New York City: A woman sitting on the steps of the 42nd Street Public Library playing chess with her shoes off to give her feet a rest as she contemplated her next move; a police officer catching a couple sneaking a kiss; a boy winding a yo-yo while his friends look on, perhaps waiting their turn to play with it.

My father celebrated his 85th birthday last year. My sister, Rina Root, and I wanted to give him a unique gift—one that he would remember, and would be remembered by. A few very carefully chosen black & white images had been framed over the years, but the rest were kept in a box along with his contact sheets and negatives. We decided to look inside that box with fresh eyes to see if there were hidden gems.

Harvey Drucker phography book

​Decades later, his vignettes of everyday life had acquired historical value and we found ourselves closely studying the fashions of the day and the cars people drove, as well as the fonts on the street signs and the architectural details on familiar landmarks. Though it wasn’t easy, we pared the negatives down to 40 photographs taken throughout Manhattan over a ten-year period and arranged them into a narrative that recorded the ephemeral moments that punctuate the buzz of The City, holding your attention for a split-second before something else pulls it away. Or as my father once put it when explaining how he decided what to photograph, “The eye sees the moment, the camera captures it.”

I collaborated with Rina, a graphic designer who owns The Root Group, to put this carefully curated selection into a book, and though the images are all B&W, the negatives were converted into a CMYK digital file and printed on 100# coated digital text. The gloss laminated cover was printed on a large format digital imager. Including black end-leaves the book runs 44 pages, and is perfect bound as any book of fine photography ought to be. The First Edition of “In the City” consists of 10 copies; we can go back to press if we need more copies.

Our father was overjoyed. He loved the gift. Who gets a book of his art for his birthday? He kept one copy for himself, and personalized the others to hand out to our family and his friends.

A Family History That Reads Like a Thriller

Michael Simon is President and CEO of Harry Fox Agency,the nation’s leading  provider of rights management solutions for the music industry. He is also a dogged researcher who left no stone unturned to pull together the family histories of his in-laws, David and Lili Khabie, Syrian Jews who first emigrated to Beirut, Lebanon, before making their way to the United States. Theirs was a long and winding road that included numerous twists and turns.

David’s family left Syria when he was six years old, and he tried to escape Beirut several times beginning in 1962. On one such occasion when he was 21-years old, he was part of a group of young men who planned to make it to Israel on a rubber raft in the middle of the night. They were forced to abandon the effort at the last minute when they heard Lebanese soldiers talking on the beach. The next morning he had to explain the farewell note he left for his parents to the authorities.

After the Six Day War in 1967, it was a particularly dangerous time to be a Jew living in an Arab country. Newly married, David tried to emigrate to America only to have his hopes inexplicably dashed by the U.S. embassy over and over. Without knowing English, he somehow managed to secure a sponsor in Minneapolis, MN, who offered him a job and he was finally able to bring his wife and year-old son to America.

Michael began documenting this dramatic story in 1998 with a series of taped interviews, not all of which were recorded but provided leads to documents that he needed to chase down. Though he had originally intended to distill the messy narrative into a crisp timeline, he eventually realized he had to let the interviews and original documents speak for themselves, and decided to turn the wealth of material he had gathered into a book that could be given to every member of the family.

Kabie family history book

We digitally printed the pages on 80# Mohawk Superfine White Eggshell Text. Together with the clean graphics, the stock gives the interior an aged look that suggest the pages are original documents rather than digital images of them. The book also has a couple of special features: One of the leaves has a fold-out page that accommodates a very detailed illustrated family tree, and there are pages in the back that hold four CDs of Simon’s taped interviews of his in-laws so future generations of the family could hear them tell their story in their own words. These pages are triple thick 80# Classic Crest Epic Black Cover stock, and are hinged to allow easy access to the CDs.

Michael was very involved in the design of the book design—and worked with a graphic designer on the book cover, the images in the book, the page layout, the images on the CDs and the family tree. We sent him various paper samples and did mock-ups until the book—particularly the pages holding the CDs had the look-and-feel he wanted.

The covers were printed on a large format digital imager and then applied a matte lamination film to help protect the surface. The 100-page book is case-bound, with the signatures glued to the spine of the cover.

The first print run of 50 copies was reserved for family and close friends, but Michael is thinking of providing copies to the Museum of Jewish Heritage and other similar institutions and we can print more copies in that event. He also plans to research his parents’ life stories for a similar effort.

highresolution is currently working on several other limited production “legacy” books, some of which are leather-bound. Each captures the special spirit of the family for which it is produced. highresolution can immortalize your family between the pages of a book created just for you.

All images shot by New York-based photographer Bill Waltzer
This entry was published on February 29, 2016 at 9:00 am and is filed under Creative Inspiration, Digital Printing, Family History, Legacy Publishing, Memoirs, Printing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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