A Pocket Full of Memories

Looking back at 2019, I call this image, “the sign of the times.” A simple snap showing how photography has evolved to become a memory book in every pocket.

I know that I take lots and lots of pictures, many I do not keep. . . anymore.

This new year I am so far wheels-less in Seattle but that has presented me the opportunity to sit still. I have put off the mind numbing task of doing some purging – of hard drives – it is tedious work. I have gotten critically low on storage space so it must be done.

I’m finding loads and loads of stored images with no names or keywords. Many are from when I first started shooting digital. Back then I didn’t understand the concept that digital devices would be ever increasing file sizes which would eventually consume my hard drive as pixel depth and resolution improved.

I didn’t realize how critical it would become to name the files, either. I have gigabytes of bad, blurry, dark, un-named images from 2006 to 2010 and I have to view every one to decide to kill it or keep it. Culling can feel like cruel work but I know it’s cathartic in the long run, unloading massive amounts of parked data that’s slowing productivity.

With digital cameras, it is easy to blow through 20 to 40 clicks at the drop of a hat. It can be a feast for the eyes to re-live a walk through a great memory with a series of frames so similar you could create a flip book with them. But the truth is, one really good image would suffice. One picture really is worth a thousand words, as long as the picture is thoughtfully made.

No matter how “artsy” they look, I toss the blurry, the grainy, the 20 repeats, the dark hard to see images and keep that one best shot that keeps the memory activated or puts a time stamp on the culture du jour. It gives my brain space to fill in the blanks. It gives my disk space more freedom. And best of all, it saves anguish when I pull out my phone to show my friend a picture without having to rifle through 4 or 5 hundred to get to the one I had in mind.

Every time January comes around it tends to remind us “out with the old” and make room for the new.I suspect many others also have a photo app full of neglected images.

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