Find your interesting life. Put it in a book.
That's what we do. We're Pictures and Stories.
Your life stories are too valuable to lose, and our passion is to help you save them! Since 1996, we have helped hundreds of clients find and preserve their best life stories in beautiful coffee-table books and videos. We can help you through the entire process of creating a personal or family history, or we can assist you with whatever parts you need, including interviewing, writing, editing, photo preparation, design and layout, cover design, and printing. We would be happy to give you a free consultation about your life story project. To see samples of some of our custom life story books, click here.
Pictures and Stories is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Tom and Alison Taylor.
Tom Taylor - Head Coach
In the first 25 years of my business career, I interviewed hundreds of people, analyzing their information and writing about business perspectives. At some point I realized that I found the people themselves—and the stories of their dreams, heartbreaks, and triumphs—much more compelling than business strategies and corporate politics. So I made the decision to devote the rest of my career to helping people tell and preserve their life stories. I started Pictures and Stories in 1994. When I met Alison, I knew that her design skills could take what I was doing to another artistic level.
Alison Taylor - Creative Director
When I met Tom, I was working as a photographer, artist, and graphic designer. Although I loved the creativity involved in photography and design, I longed for a deeper connection with people and a chance to incorporate my writing skills into my work. When I fell in love with Tom, I also loved what he did for a living, and knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Sometimes we can't believe our luck: we get to hear fascinating stories every day; and we get to use our skills to create beautiful books that bring people closer. Best of all, we get to work together!
Tom and Alison have taught personal history classes at RootsTech, BYU Education Week, Westminster College, the Salt Lake City and County Library system, and numerous family history conferences. They are members of the Association of Personal Historians and the Utah Historical Society.
Meet our talented collaborators:
Layne Schwabedissen - Interviews and Social Media
Layne's passion is people. She has a BS degree in Anthropology and speaks fluent Italian, having traveled extensively around Europe—studying, well, people. She has an uncanny talent for getting subjects to relax and open up during an interview. Layne also speaks fluent social media.
Steve McCurdy - Video
Steve's passions are travel and creative storytelling. He has journeyed around the world to preserve stories of culture, family, and heritage, especially in Italy and India. Steve has over 25 years' experience in documentary and commercial video and film production.
Kaitlin Mills - Design
Kaitlin’s passion is taking anything and making it look better. As well as being a talented graphic designer and Photoshop/InDesign whiz kid, she is also an artist and professional actress. Kaitlin has a B.F.A. degree in Classical Acting with a minor in Graphic Design.
What people are saying about us:
"Tom and Alison...without your gentle guidance and coaching, interviewing, editing, book design and other skills, this priceless record would not have seen the light of day. The stories, memories and images would have stayed in the dark--in our dresser drawers, thoughts and hearts, but not stand as a readable record for those who follow after our time....It is a beautiful book.
"Distance was not an obstacle. You live and work far from any of the contributors to the book. All of our family members were able to make their contributions in real time over the internet and phone. Your business is indeed a ministry and a blessing."
Marianne Egan, Ascot, England
“Thank you so much for your assistance in completing my autobiography. We are very happy with the end product. Your professional assistance was most helpful. You have had a lot of experience which adds to the book's beauty and professionalism. We are looking forward to your help in producing my wife's book.”
W. Mack Lawrence, Salt Lake City
“We thank you again for My Life Well-Remembered. It is our family treasure! We have had nothing but raves about the book. What you do is a wonderful ministry and a help to so very many.”
Louis and FayBeth Moore, Dallas, Texas
"Thank you for your superb work in designing my art book, Memories, and my history, A Life Well Lived....I admire and greatly appreciate your ability to anticipate what I was trying to say in the text and match it with the appropriate pictures and captions. In some cases you were able to add pictures from other sources that were very appropriate. Your attention to detail provided a book of outstanding quality. The cover of my history alone was quite remarkable.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to both of you for your extraordinary talents and knowledge. The books are everything I wanted and more! They are a treasure that I hope will be passed to future generations.
Blaine Clements, Sandy, Utah
"The idea of doing a life story on my father's 85 years seemed daunting when I first approached Tom and Alison. With their patience and availability, the journey was actually joyful! ... It is a professional, polished AND most importantly--personal account of his life and legacy. It truly captured the "essence" of my father...Tom and Alison's creativity made all the difference in presenting an interesting and beautiful product. The quality of the book is amazing…high quality paper, clear concise photographs and sturdily bound.
"The workbook especially made the data collection logical and created a clear path that steered the project forward.... I never felt pressured by Tom and Alison, rather encouraged to stay on task. Communication was carried out over 1,200 miles apart as we live in Oklahoma. With email, electronic scanning, texting and phone calls, we were able to seamlessly work together I believe just as effectively as we would have if we lived in the same vicinity.
"We presented the book to my father at a birthday celebration as he was surrounded by family and friends…approximately 250 in attendance. We placed copies on all the tables for the guests to enjoy. The guests pored over the book start to finish!... His life story will now be an influence on their lives as they turn each page and come to know his life and legacy... I could not be more pleased or proud of the work we accomplished together in compiling my father's life story. Our family is now excited to do a companion book on our mother. We look forward to again working with Pictures and Stories knowing that we will be creating an equally interesting and cherished personal history for her."
Lorelie Ahlert, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
"It has been a pleasure associating with you in creating my family history book. Your expertise and advice were invaluable, and you certainly made my work easier. I would highly recommend you for any project."
Shirley Hintz, Minot, North Dakota
"Thank you for the wonderful work you did on Arie's history. We look at it with great joy and share it with others with a deep sense of pride in a job well done. We know that it wouldn't be nearly as amazing without your talents and skills! You were always so helpful and accommodating. Every time we came you welcomed us and were so patient and helpful to our process. That meant a great deal! Thanks for helping us create a priceless treasure!"
Kathy & Arie Van Wyngaarden, Salt Lake City
“I’m thinking of you today with gratitude for your very kind professional talent and support. As I begin to wrap these little treasures I know the effort will linger perhaps beyond our generation and provide a lovely perspective for future family.”
Marjorie Pearson, Salt Lake City
"We could not have done it alone. Your expertise and skill was indispensable.
"Just how good is it? Let us answer that question by relating an incident which occurred shortly after we received the finished books... We showed it to a person who works in the business of printing and binding books. After perusing the book for a while he said, "I've been in this business for some 19 years now and this is the finest book [of this type] I have seen in my entire career." Just last week, in another incident, a person having read a good portion of the book told us that this book was "the most inspirational and interesting book" she had ever read.
"Tom and Alison, we believe it was not just by coincidence that we found you, but regardless, we will forever be grateful that we did. With all of our hearts, thank you!"
S. Arthur and Lila Mae Debenham, Sandy, Utah
"I can’t thank you enough for the splendid job you did with my book… I became very emotional when I saw it. It was beautiful. I couldn’t have been more pleased. The appearance and quality was beyond my hopes… I was absolutely thrilled with the final product.
"I was amazed by the reaction to my book… Were they pleased? “Ecstatic” is the word… I had no idea how much emotion it would evoke.
"Your company has great expertise and ability. I was very pleased with the professionalism and the kindness you exhibited throughout the project… It was a pleasure to work with you. Again, thanks for your great work."
Fred S. Ball, Salt Lake City
Vice President Zions Bank, Host of Speaking on Business
"I am writing to thank you for the outstanding job you did in creating the historic book Heber Light and Power - 100 years of Service - 1909-2009.
"The stories and pictures in this book tell the entire story of this wonderful company that celebrated its 100th anniversary this summer. I have read the book from cover to cover two different times.
"Everyone that I have talked to about his book has raved about its historical value. I especially appreciate the stories and pictures that walk us through this company from its inception.... The pictures, the stories, the layout… takes the reader back in time and brings us right to the current time. We feel like we've been a part of this company the entire time.
"As Chairman of the Board, Heber Light and Power, and Mayor of Heber City, it is truly a pleasure to thank you on behalf of our company and community as a whole, for this monumental book of history and pictures. It will be treasured in our community for years to come."
David R. Phillips, Mayor, Heber City, Utah
“What a wonderful experience I’ve had learning about personal histories this week. I feel energized and confident about the stories I have to tell. While I have always loved writing, I’ve not always known how to use that talent to bless others...I want to share my interesting experiences. That’s what I’ve learned—I’m interesting too!”
Emily, a student in one of our life story seminars
"Hank and I couldn't be more thrilled and thankful as all our dreaming, planning and prayers of the last months were beautifully fulfilled. Everything turned out practically perfect, with the DVD and the Life Story book being the highlights. We're receiving accolades about them from everyone in the family as well as neighbors and friends who have dropped by. The book is meriting superlatives about both appearance and content. Everyone thinks the cover is exceptionally attractive. Hank is thrilled, and I am as well."
Daryl and Hank Hoole, Salt Lake City
(In a letter to Daryl and Hank Hoole) "When I started to read Hank's book, Unfaltering Faith—the Life Story of Hendricus J.M. Hoole, Jr., I couldn't put it down and have now read every page.
"This autobiography is as nice as I have ever seen. It is beautifully written and the photographs are stunningly beautiful. The quality of the printing and the lovely paper and binding all go together to make this a gift of exquisite quality. Thank you so much for honoring me with a copy of it."
Russell M. Nelson, Salt Lake City
"How can we ever thank you? Your incredible professionalism and caring attitude provided our family with a treasure that we will cherish for years to come.
"The pictures you took were wonderful. When they were added to all the old family pictures we provided it created a treasure trove of memories. The way you integrated them throughout the book was great.
"How did you ever create such a delightful dialogue from all those many hours of interviews? You are miracle workers. You make a great team.
“Grandpa McNaughtan Had a Farm was well worth every penny. The farmhouse and the barns have all been torn down and the value of that book is now priceless. The DVD is icing on the cake. Thank you again for doing what we never could have done."
Ben and Hi McNaughtan and the Rockin’ E Ranch
“Thank you for your excellent presentations. Both my wife and I are going to write our personal histories. Your advice was invaluable. You helped us to avoid many pitfalls and showed us how our histories can be much more professional. We felt your class gave us the best “how to” process.”
Steve, a student in one of our life story seminars
"Tom and Alison: what a super team to work with! You were very professional in your approach to our family history. You achieved the message on the DVD and book that we wanted to convey to our family. The interviews were comfortable and the editing was superb. It made us look good and every member of our family loved the DVD and book and how it made them feel.
"All of our material was utilized in the best possible way. Our old 8mm films, photographs and videos were well utilized with the narration from our interviews. The layout for our book was artistically attractive and we loved the finished product.
"Your main desire was to please us with the end results and you willingly worked within our timeframe. We also appreciate having all our pictures and multimedia collection backed up on discs and a hard drive for our own use."
Sharon Spencer, Heber City, Utah
"With each of the five books you have made for us, everybody has been so pleased and proud to show them to their children, grandchildren and others… The placement of the pictures was wonderful. The glossy pages make the old time photos, letters and documents show up so well. It’s a real keepsake.
"It made my parents’ lives come alive. My son said he learned things that he would not have known. It just made my family draw closer together and draw closer to our ancestors… My brothers said they really appreciated the book about our Auntie, as they did not know that side of the family very well before.
"We absolutely loved the video, In Alice’s Eyes. We watched it at the family reunion and my grandchildren have seen it many times since. They have told me many times how much they loved it.
"We had so many pictures, letters, and other documents, it was hard to keep track of them. It has been nice not only to have the books and videos, but now to have all the pictures in a form that we can easily make reprints to share with each other."
Gen Gowans, South Jordan, Utah