Recently I started reorganizing my photos into groupings that are easier to search. I had intended to spend time over the year digitizing all our old “analog” images and even the family photos from Kim’s parents. While discussing the project, a troubling concept was presented to me.
When I’m gone, all these thousands of photos will probably just end up on a drive stuck in a box and will never be seen by anyone until the box is eventually tossed to make room for someone else’s box that will also remain unseen until it eventually suffers the same fate. Our world has become so immediate that anything that is over a few days old is ancient history. It isn’t even really history because history is supposed to be referenced so we can learn from it and we don’t really do that anymore. New information is so plentiful that old information sinks out of sight into the sediment and fossilizes almost immediately. Ask yourself how often you go back and look at photos posted by a family member. Once a month? Once a year? Ever? Last year I started deleting anything more than a few weeks old on Facebook because the likelihood of anyone scrolling down through all the never-to-be used recipes, “share this” requests and occasionally relevant memes to view them again is so close to zero that maintaining a photo history there was meaningless. The outcry was….nonexistent. Nobody even noticed.
So, who really cares about all the photos I have captured? I pondered this for quite a while and came up with an answer to the question that justified all the effort I put into them. Me. I care. The photos matter to me and all this introspection spurred by the “who cares?” question led to the affirmation that I take the photos, manage the photos, and post the photos because I like to. Photography makes me happy and I really, truly enjoy it. I like having a visual history of our family and I actually do go back and look at them on a fairly regular basis. I enjoy seeing the grandkids grow up again, seeing pets we loved and lost and reliving the tens of thousands of miles Kim and I have travelled together. I have to add that to my surprise, some of them are pretty awesome. 🙂
I also decided to continue to post photos and that I really don’t care if anyone goes back and looks at them again. If people see them and enjoy them once, that’s one more time than if I had never taken them and maybe, just maybe it will make their day momentarily brighter. I will still purge Facebook of most content after a short while for the aforementioned reasons but will increase my efforts to assemble an organized pictorial family and travel history elsewhere.
On that note, this coming year will likely see the closure of my account and online galleries at Zenfolio. I have intended for years to replace it with a series of galleries native to the storage on pptphoto.com and maybe this will be the year it happens. The idea is to have all the photos and content published online mirrored on a local drive so if someone wants to carry on with our family history, they can relocate it an do it on their own publishing space.
If by some chance you read this far without seeing something shiny and scrolling away, the bottom line is that I take pictures and post them because I like to. If others see them or not is irrelevant to the process but if you see them and enjoy them, however briefly, that’s icing on the cake. In case you’re wondering, I do have many pictures of cake.