So… sharing a couple of pics of That Baby this week has got me to thinking. About pictures.
I take a lot of pictures of Stinkerbelle. I mean, a LOT. I can grab the camera on any given day and take 250 shots in just one sitting. Part of the problem is that, at this age, That Baby is a moving target. Well, not so much moving, as bobbing and weaving and lurching and tilting. So, I do what the sports photographers call “spray-and-pray” photography: take a whole bunch of shots in rapid succession, with the hope that one or two will be good.
Now, of course they are digital, so it’s easy. I remember the days of film and bemoaned the fact that I could never get any good at photography because I could not AFFORD to get any good at it. I couldn’t afford the film to practice or take a lot of shots. But now with digital, the only question is storage space.
Our photos are pretty huge. Unlike BDH, who has taken the time to learn this stuff, I am still at the “point and shoot” stage of my photographic adventure, and so I don’t know about changing settings or whatever. So the photos I take are giant, and high resolution. Which is fine — I am fortunately learning a lot more on the software side of things so I can make them smaller on the backend as needed. BUT… I don’t, unless I am using them.
Herein lies the problem.
We literally have thousands of photos of Stinkerbelle now — not to mention the thousands and thousands of photos we have of other things. Some are quite good, some are quite average. And many are of dubious lighting and composition, or are not in focus, or are of the “ooh-I-wasn’t-looking-so-my-eyes-are-closed-or-all-squinty-like-a-drug-induced-haze” variety.
When I graduated from university, our commencement speaker was a very old lady who was the niece of one of the Group of Seven. She was their archivist. She was fascinating. The premise of her speech was “always keep all your photographs, even the bad ones, and make sure you write the date and a little description on the back”. That’s how she started the speech. We thought she was a loony.
But as it turned out, she wasn’t a loony. She was really engaging and funny. From that premise, she related her stories of archiving items about the Group of Seven, and how the same should be done in our own lives with our memories. We only go through life once, and no matter who we are, we have a rich history of stories and memories and experiences to leave to our children and grandchildren, so we should be sure to share them by making sure they know what these treasures — ostensibly photographs, but anything really — are all about.
I took it to heart. For awhile. But then, it got to be too much. I had too many photos and items to save.
Now, with the advent of digital photography and digital archives, the dating of items is automatic. That part is fine. But I am not so good at annotating the items I save. The writing I do is self-explanatory, but photos and other items not so much. So I have to get better at that — and who has that kind of time? I have a myriad of little projects like that I dream of doing. I guess I just add it to this endless list.
And then there’s the issue of storage. As I said, our photos are huge. Saving them takes a fair bit of space. And saving them consistently, categorized consistently and in one place, in a house full of computer bits and pieces, is a task. And one we keep saying, “ooh, we should do that” and just never seem to get around to doing.
And that’s not even counting the project I have going to take all our photographs and negatives and scan them to store digitally… a project that I started with my photos from Japan and then, after a few weeks, abandoned to whatever other demands in life that came along.
So I wonder: How can I do this better?
If you were me, would you save everything — all the photos you take, good and bad? Would you take the time to make a little note on each? How would you keep track of what the photo was about, why you took it, what you were thinking and feeling at that time? And how would you organize your masses of photos?
There is so much history and so many memories to pass along to our daughter in these photographs and other little bits of our life.
What’s a shutterbug mom to do?