Recollect Studios: Portland woman creates website to preserve loved ones memories

Emily Occhipinti, left, as a very young girl with her father, Andy Priebe. (Courtesy of Emily Occhipinti)

Emily Occhipinti learned late last year of her father Andy Priebe’s cancer diagnosis.

The 28-year-old marketing manager went online looking for a website that would allow her to tell his story and, in effect, her family’s story, using photographs, videos and words to preserve his memory for the children she plans to have with her husband.

“Everything I found felt really cold and sterile and very templated out,” she said. ”I wasn’t able to find anything that could really capture my dad’s lightning-in-a-bottle personality – there was nothing that would really show who he was to our future children.”

Occhipinti developed the interactive website called Recollect Studios for herself and others who found themselves in the same or similar situation, by helping them get those memories out of a box in a closet and onto the internet.

It was all about pulling seemingly random photos, memories, oral histories and old videos (on old formats) and making them into a cohesive whole, she said.

“There are so many amazing tools to help record audio, to help record video to help tell stories in really creative and innovative ways rather than just having a photo album,” Occhipinti said. “There are just so many rich sources of material to that are all kind of individual but haven’t all been put together yet, but that’s what I wanted to try and do.”

She says her father has embraced the project, telling her stories she and her father have never heard, and creating his own blog. She found that story really has the “power to bring people together, and power to bring people together in moments of crisis.

“It’s been really therapeutic for my mom and I to go through the process with him,” she said.

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