Awhile ago, my devices informed that I was running out of storage space and that if I didn’t do something about it, well, there’d be consequences. That ominously vague threat was enough to spur me to action. Action.
“What can I, a mere mortal lacking basic common sense do?” I asked.
“Not our problem!” my devices cried out in unison.
So, one day, while under the influence of god knows which substances (who can keep track these days?), I began the task of reviewing and deleting photographs. I take dozens of snapshots of a subject in the hopes that one will be a keeper. I discovered that hidden away in many thousands of unremarkable images, was often a single element that I could use elsewhere. So, meh photo, but one usable component.
Some quick math. I’ve had a digital camera since the early ’00s, when there still was a glimmer of hope for humankind. I estimate that I’ve taken at least 60,000 digital photos. Often, I delete images in camera. I immediately get rid of those that are blurry, out of focus, have a thumb blocking the subject, etc., and it’s safe to say that I’ve done that with about 10,000 photos over the years. Next, when I download them to my device, I further review and get rid of more…and I’d estimate that additional 10,000 have bit the digital dust in that manner. Then, when I’m editing, deciding which to share on which platform, I eliminate more, all of which left me still with about 32,000 photos and videos awaiting either destruction or salvation.
That’s a lot of photos, and I’m not really a very good photographer. Out of 32,000 images:
- 1,000 are decent
- 250 are pretty good
- 100 are suitable for framing as an 8 x 10
- 25 I’m proud of
- One or two are good enough that I’d brag about
None of them, however, rise to the quality of the masters. Here, for instance, is my most liked photo on Flickr:
Here’s a photo taken in NYC about ten years ago. A woman taking a shot of a woman striking a pose. I like shooting people who are shooting other people. So shoot me. Without describing why it is a so-so photo, this is a so-so photo.
I zoomed, cropped, and converted to black and white, and still, nothing to write home about:
I ended up printing the above, and manually, with scissors and a hobby knife, cut out the background, leaving only the woman. Then, along with dozens of other photos, I cut and glued them together to make a collage:
I’ve gotten the photo library down below 22,000 and my devices have shut up for the time being. I’ve categorized those that remain into groups I can use for future collages: buildings, people, roads, animals, landscape, and so on. It’s something to do while the world outside continues to unravel.