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Preserving family legacies
Still Life Press is a legacy book company specializing in memoirs, biographies, and corporate and philanthropic histories. Our books are custom-crafted with the highest standards at every stage, from rough draft through editing and design to print.
Our book and packaging design reflect the unique nature of our subjects. Pictured is an 8" x 10" premium fabric slip case with a debossed photo and foil stamp lettering. The book cover is hard-bound with foil lettering on the spine and a soft-touch finish.
THOROUGH INTERVIEWING & RESEARCH
Former business associates, children, in-laws, and each one of this subject's grandchildren contributed memories for his legacy book, culminating in a multi-generational story that will be enjoyed for years.
CAPTURING A SUBJECT'S VOICE
Above all else, our primary focus is on getting our subject's voice right, and we highlight as much of their voice as possible, even in biographies, both textually and visually.
PHOTOGRAPHIC RESTORATION & IMAGE QUALITY
We know that pictures often speak more loudly than words, and we can work closely with image restorationists to maximize the quality of your old photographs and documents.
Two family tree foldouts introduce and conclude the first chapter in this biography, and the complete (merged) family tree was created for one of the appendices.
From initial consultation to final review of proofs, we obsess over getting the details right, whether it's tracking down the perfect Navy ship map, triple-checking the manuscript for grammatical errors or our carefully hand-sewn binding.
Each book involves a minimum of 12 hours of interviews, adapted to make for the most comfortable experience possible for the subject. Interview formats may include question and answer sessions, relaxed conversations in the comfort of our client's home or office, third-party interviews with family, friends, colleagues or clients, pre-written memories from “trigger” prompts, and family photo album narration.
After the first draft is complete, clients are personally involved in the editing process, then with the photo selection and book design phases as well. An average book is approximately 150 pages and includes 50 pictures; but in the end, we are committed to producing the book that best suits the needs and desires of each client. Legacy book projects, from initial interviews to final printing, can take anywhere from 9 - 24 months.
We started Still Life Press because of our shared passion for understanding the varieties of human experience and the desire to document the motivations and values that shape our clients’ lives. We have a knack for storytelling and a deep belief in the importance of preserving personal legacies as well as a love for the classic art of bookmaking.
Megan Witt Photography
Michael J. Wolfe
A lover of life stories from the beginning, one of Michael’s first memories was interviewing his great grandmother in Princeton, Illinois, on her 105th birthday. After careers in academia, research, and entertainment, Michael turned his energy to Still Life Press. His inspiration came when the key mentor of his life was diagnosed with terminal cancer; he saw how quickly the stories of his greatest teacher were slipping away and wanted to help others preserve their own loved ones’ legacies. Michael’s skill sets include project management, research, editing, interviewing, and a keen sense of design. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Michael holds a BA in English from the University of Iowa and a MFA in creative writing. Teaching stints at Southwestern University and The University of New Mexico eventually led him to his current home in Los Angeles, where he is developing a documentary TV series and exploring as many new hiking and bike trails as possible.
Tom is a former attorney and commercial real estate investment banker who, over twenty years ago, learned the importance of legacy books when he commissioned his mother’s memoir. At the time, the project was a welcome and therapeutic exercise for his mother to revisit the key, and sometimes difficult, events of her life. The importance of the book grew as the entire family came to appreciate the value of having their matriarch’s legacy in print. In Memory Care, at the end of her life, the family reread the book to her and relished her joy in recapturing lost memories. Tom learned in his banking career that his most valuable skill was his ability to listen; today, that same skill helps him draw out the best and most memorable stories from his subjects’ lives. Tom attended Duke for his BA and earned his JD at the University of Michigan. He has lived in Chicago, New York, Washington and Hong Kong. Home is now a farm in The Plains, Virginia, which he shares with his partner, two horses and three dogs, but in any given month he’s more likely traveling to a new locale than staying put.
Megan Witt Photography
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Considering a legacy book project? We'd love to hear from you. Please call or email us below to start the conversation.