When my laptop was resuscitated from its recent crash all my files had disappeared. Every image I had stored on it was gone. I have many on a USB stick and had copied a lot onto Memory Cards but it feels surprisingly good to have a clean computer.
Rather than downloading my chaotic image files onto it I’m finally doing that big photo sort I’ve been talking about doing for years. It seems strange to think that for most of my life I didn’t take photos of every little thing that grabbed my attention. I mucked around in a darkroom for a while in my 20s until the smell of chemicals drove me out. After that time I rarely took photos or even owned a working camera. Now with digital cameras and mobile phones I have thousands of images stored electronically. I realise this wouldn’t concern many but I am a serial declutterer. I find having less helps me become more focused. Sorting out my photo files is something I really want to achieve.
Some files are easy to sort out, others less so. It’s weird how attached I am to some images that really aren’t all that brilliant. Last night I whittled my photos of beaches down from 240 to 160 and felt like I’d achieved something momentous. This morning I woke up thinking ‘why do I need 160 photos of the beach? I live right near one.” I could think of no particular reason but still can’t bring myself to delete the whole file even though heaps of the photos look virtually identical. I did find this photo of my local beach descending into winter that I haven’t posted before.
When I do allow myself to get rid of inconsequential photos of inconsequential moments it does feel liberating – the process is akin to moving into neutral, non-attached spiritual states. It’s hard to do but the result is greater mental clarity – zen and the art of photo sorting or something.
Some groups of photos lend themselves to becoming digital collages – though this one looks like a really badly done tiling job. I guess it will hit the cutting room floor tonight when I have another go at this Arachne like task.
I do find making digital collages a great way of expressing complex ideas through photography though. I am slowly reading my way through a novel set in Barcelona, “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. One of my daughters lent me a copy telling me it was the best book she’d ever read. With that in mind I feel duty bound to at least try to read the book and, hopefully offer some affirmation of it when I eventually finish. It’s far more gothic than the kind of book I usually read. Dare I confess I read novels to relax and often read light hearted rom coms?
The book has inspired me to take a look at my old photos of Barcelona. I made this collage from them earlier in the week. The laptop crash wiped out my copy of Photoshop Elements. I didn’t particularly like the program but was stuck on the idea that I needed a version of Photoshop for digital imaging. It’s been exciting to discover I can use a combination of apps on my Android to make complex collages. For this one I used Snapseed, Pixlr and an app called Photo Editor. It isn’t as seamless as a Photoshop collage but maybe I can work this way after all. Come to think of it there is a free Photoshop app. I tried it once before and found it cumbersome. Maybe I need to persevere with it.
Perhaps I’ll print out the image and give it to my daughter as my critique of the book