Janesville man turns old photos into memorable collages
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Celebrate Life Boards are available in many styles and can be ordered in portrait or landscape settings. You can choose to have text added to the pictures of your life boards.
For more information call Al Bortles at 608-289-3200, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.celebratelifeboards.com.
JANESVILLE At 78, Al Bortles is celebrating life.
He's doing it by creating life boards of photos.
The Janesville man created Celebrate Life Boards several years ago after his wife, Carol, suggested they do something special for their grandson's college graduation.
"So, I took a lot of old photos and put them together on a 20-by-30-inch board, and everybody liked it," he said.
To promote his new business, Bortles created a website, participated in art festivals and senior expos and did public presentations. He's also working with funeral homes and Alzheimer's and genealogy groups.
"I do collages of various gatherings and can see where this would work well for companies if they want to show a number of their products in a different format," he said.
Life boards celebrate many occasions, Bortles said.
They include memorial boards for funerals, heritage boards for ancestry and genealogy, wedding boards for weddings and receptions, hobby boards for hunting and fishing trophies and special occasion boards for birthdays, graduations, vacations, businesses, sports and military service.
Bortles, who enjoys photography and working with photos, operates Celebrate Life Boards out of his Janesville home office.
"I did a collage of Rotary Gardens in the spring, and after a lady saw it at a show, that's what she wanted. So after she raved about the life board, her daughter is ordering this for her mother for Christmas," he said.
Bortles was asked to create heritage boards—where he works with genealogy and old photos—after displaying examples of his life boards at a German Interest Group workshop.
A board honoring the life of a loved one with photos makes an excellent keepsake, Bortles said.
That's exactly what Bob Perkins had in mind when he hired Bortles to craft a special Christmas gift for his daughter, who was close to her late mother.
After starting with 100 photos, Perkins narrowed the selection to 30 and gave them to Bortles to scan, lay out and print on one large heavy piece of photo paper before it was mounted on a 20-by-30-inch board.
"It's not a bunch of individual pictures just stuck on, and they get their photos back in the same condition as when I got them," Bortles said.
Perkins was pleased with the result.
"I wanted my daughter to have a memento of her mother," he said.
Bortles said it's common for families to have photographs tucked away in old boxes. Yet it's easy for him to transform them into a celebration of life that can be shared with everyone.