Digital photos

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

20 thoughts on “Digital photos

  1. The Shadow of the Wind is a fabulous, beautifully written book. I loved it. As for those photos, youโ€™ve inspired me to look at the many thousands that clutter up my hard drive. Perhaps itโ€™s time for a digital declutter for me too. Thanks Suzanne for the motivation.

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  2. What a great account of sorting. And what good use youโ€™ve made of Barcelona photos – as both art and critique. Itโ€™s hard to struggle with a book someone you love has raved about. Maybe youโ€™ve found the perfect solution.

    Iโ€™ve just spent the week with old thumbdrives – a chaos of repetition and the occasional gem. When Iโ€™d finished, I found the stuff already sorted three years ago on my laptop,

    (Somehow everything I read lately somehow reminds me of you. Including this, which has very little bearing on this post, except for the clearing of spirit

    https://aboutregional.com.au/60000-years-of-traditional-aboriginal-medicine-touches-the-spirit-of-katungul/?)

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    1. Seems like the sorting bug is in the air right now. It’s good to get rid of all the repetition and uncover the really good stuff hidden away in the dross, I agree.
      Thanks for sending me that link. The aboriginal healing sounds wonderful. We really have ignored the skills of the indigenous people for far too long. I hope the healing sessions at Bateman’s Bay become a regular thing. It is so positive.

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    1. Thanks Sue. Yes, we all find what works for us. Having lots of photos of places I’ve been is a good way of keeping memories intact but all the double ups, bad shots and boring ones just have to go for me right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I’m a converted clutterer ๐Ÿ™‚ It has taken me years to become a minimalizer, but I agree with you, less is more, and yes helps me to focus in the digital and writing sense.

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  4. Love your going into winter beach image. I probably have too many but my files are not organised so I’m clueless how many. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ The collage is rather attractive too. I’ve read and really enjoyed the book but can’t remember much about it now. Shameful, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚ I should use more apps but I’m a bit of a technophobe.

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    1. It’s funny how we can read books then totally forget what they are about. I have that problem too. I guess we all find our own way through the digital maze. I like some structure but that’s not for everyone. Thanks for reading and joining in the conversation ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Love the collage and the spooky thing is I just bought that book at a book sale the other day, thinking it looked interesting. I think I’ll read it next, now that I hear how interesting it is. But first I need to do some decluttering that is desperately overdue, and that you have inspired me to do today – thank you!!๐Ÿ˜Š

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