There was once a woman who lived … on a hill…. she had so many photos she didn’t know what to do …
I have possibly upwards of 100,000 digital photographs. They’re stashed on cloud storage facilities like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Images, that I don’t remember the passwords for. They’re stashed on breakable hard-drives. They’re suffocating my iPhone.
I am digitally drowning.
Worse than that (I think) are the several thousands of digital images that I’ve lost over the past few years. Stashes were vanquished when one of my hard-drives slid out of my hand onto the desk below and never worked again. I also lost all the digital files from my indefinitely-paused archaeology PhD research when it happened. (That was the end of that.)
One old iPhone fell heavily against the old stone walls of our house when I waved it a little too vigorously – as if to improve the hopeless phone signal where we live – and I lost all the thousands of photos on that.
Another old iPhone won’t charge and I can’t access the thousands of photographs on that.
A few months ago, all the recent-ish photos I’d stashed on my laptop to make space on my storage-choked current iPhone were lost when I closed the lid on said laptop a little too firmly – because our useless WiFi kept dropping! and its hard drive packed it in.
I don’t seem to practice taking good care of my technology.
And despite an old job I used to have where I was responsible for unprecedented archives of archaeological collections, I have no practice of collating my own digital photographs.
Even though I love my iPhone photographs. My iPhone is really a camera to me, with a phone facility attached that I hardly ever use because hey, the signal in our house is so bad anyway. I use cool apps to edit my photos to make what are to me beautiful images of the life I live in. One of the last things I do at the end of every day is flick through the photos I took that day, as if to distil my day into an aesthetic of memory. It’s a rare day that I don’t take any. I don’t even go to the clothes line in our back yard without my phone in hand (or thrown on top of the basket of laundry) in case I miss a Fleeting Beautiful Sight. And it could happen!
I do use Instagram, on five different accounts, sporadically and agonisingly. I tend to only publish what I consider my loveliest images, or those that fit the narrative I like to portray. Then months as later I look back over the images “from the cutting-room floor”, as it were, I wonder – why did I not share those? These were good too. I share even less on Facebook (though I do use Facebook in inconsistent bouts of activity, depending on mood and WiFi.)
Which leaves me, at the end of 2016, with 3,351 images on my iPhone and no space to take any more, unless I delete Shazam again as a temporary measure, and that’s just inconvenient.
And what to do then? Try to painstaking upload a few hundred to cloud storage, if I remember the passwords, where they will languish unseen and effectively lost?
Time to publish, and be damned.
In new blog posts I stash, via the WordPress app on my phone (whilst there is still space for it), images I clear from my iPhone. Some are already on Instagram, or Facebook. Most are not. As I share them I delete them from my phone, reward it some well-deserved digital space and consider myself absolved of a responsibility towards curating them.
I also endeavor to do this in the interests of giving this sorely neglected blog some visual narrative in a new theme of Kettle Pictures. Click the link to see, and the new category of the same name is in the tabs above.