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Letting go (of past work)
Old 05-06-2019   #1
Takkun
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Letting go (of past work)

Oof.
I just got back from my mother's place, where I just spent 8 hours going through what appeared to be every photo I took between 1999 and 2010 or so. Filled several garbage bags with prints, negatives, slides, and various detritus (my mother's seemingly kept everything I've ever touched, but that's a different story).

Lots of 3x5 and 4x6 proofs. Packets from Walgreens, Ritz, and later the various camera dealers I worked at—oh, how I miss $2 processing with my discount. Film stocks long since discontinued: Plus-X, Neopan 100, E100G and a lot more. Countless more that I'd developed by hand and only printed one or two images before moving on, never looking at the rest of the roll.

It was a very strange and emotionally heavy process. I may not have the best memory in the world, but I can look at a roll and vividly remember the day I shot it (the only roll that threw me for a loop was one I remember developing for my ex!). The whole process was like watching a film of all my memories, good and bad.

Of course, I kept a handful of sentimental prints, some individual strips to scan when I get the chance, and my best 'keeper' work. There were a lot of adolescent attempts to be 'arty' or failed shots to document some place at a specific moment in time. Seemed a waste to toss them, but I know of a place that collects materials for art/craft/DIY projects and hope someone with more creativity might make use of them.

The entire process was a tremendous mental, not to mention physical, unburdening. The next project is going through the 3500+ iPhone photos from the following 10 years.

I'd like to hear from others about how they deal with decades of old work, especially what hasn't seen the light of day. I studied photography in undergrad and something that was never discussed in depth was how to organize one's work. My professors were of two camps: one was the 'save absolutely everything and invest in a lot of hard drives,' while the other was 'never print more than two photos per roll and toss the rest'.
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Old 05-06-2019   #2
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These days I shoot 100% digital and I delete the hell out of duplicates and bad shots. In bygone days I tossed out duplicate slides and bad shots but I filed away all my negatives. I also have boxes of prints dating back to the early 1970's that really should be culled ruthlessly.

I'm inconsistent, obviously.
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Old 05-06-2019   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
I'd like to hear from others about how they deal with decades of old work....
I look at the stacks of negatives, slides, disk drives, CDs, DVDs, and prints once in awhile, and think that I really do need to get it all organized. There's been some progress, but sporadic, and nowhere nearly enough. I estimate that if I sat down, unemotionally, and just tackled organizing photographs, all day, every day, I could be done within a year (that includes scanning and printing the keepers, while simultaneously cataloging or indexing what I keep).

The toughest part is the "unemotionally" part. Seeing some of the old pictures brings to mind unhappy times, and that's when I give up and go do something else. One of these days, though, I will get it done.
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Old 05-06-2019   #4
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I keep negatives pretty much no matter what. Prints I cull every now and then. Last time I did it was in 2012 when I filled one of those large SoCal recycling cans nearly full. I still have upwards of five thousand prints in boxes.

It pays to stay organized. I use Lightroom to catalog film. Every neg I ever shot has been scanned. All the good prints I have were scanned too. All of it goes into Lightroom. The negs are numbered by year and running roll number. When i make new scans they go into a folder that holds all new scans, then periodically I move the images into the folder heirarchy which is done by geographical location or subject matter. It is easy to find an image this way. It never takes me longer than a minute to find an image. If I want to make a pirnt of something I just have to find the image # then go pick out the neg out of a binder. I also use collections in Lightroom quite extensively and everything gets metadata as well. I am kind of stuck with Lightroom to be honest.

For Digital images I've switched over to Capture One. Pretty much works the same as Lightroom. I've found it to be much better than Lightroom for image quality though which is why I made the switch. When I import the digital images, I rename them with the date they were shot before the file name. That keeps everything organized chronologically.

Now that I've been doing all this for a long time, I think it is a big mistake to throw out negatives. Back in the day our parents use to keep the prints and throw out the negs. I have a ton of photos from when i was a kid and they are all faded and look like pookah. If I had the neg, I could make another print. Don't chuck the negs.

I hope that helps someone.
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Old 05-06-2019   #5
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A few months ago, my Aunt showed me a box of old photos taken of our family from over the years, as well as a photo album kept by her mother in law. In it were photos I'd never seen, including a handful of Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides. It made me wonder where all the other slides from those rolls were!

I'm frankly surprised that you would throw out so much of your photographic history. To each their own; it must have been a very arduous and yet ultimately positive process for you.

In my case, all of my albums are dated and labeled. I know pretty much where, when and with what camera and lens each photo was taken, and what film was used. All of my digital images are organized by year, and then broken down by place, person or activity, all in chronological order. I'm happy to keep buying hew harddrives and migrating the existing files across; I've been doing this for years, having moved from Imation Super Discs to burnable CD's, then DVD's, and now harddrives.
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Old 05-06-2019   #6
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Years ago my mother was in her 80's and decided to go through all the family photo's and write on the back who they were of and when they were taken. I'm very glad she did.

So I now have family pictures dating back to the turn of and probably before the last century; some are the early circular Kodak photo's and there are a few Tintypes.

Looking carefully at the oldest professional photo's I was amazed how good some taken in 1908 were...

Regards, David


PS I save all mine from the digitals and film on a HD in a folder for each camera. Plus a folder called - at the moment - "2019" after a year or so I thin out the 2019 folder and then further thin the ones 9 or 10 years old but you need to look at all of them to be effective. It's best done now and then.
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Old 05-07-2019   #7
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I'm frankly surprised that you would throw out so much of your photographic history. To each their own; it must have been a very arduous and yet ultimately positive process for you.
I just keep everything. I don't get throwing away photos. (My mom does it with my dad's photos she knows I might want and it drives me insane; it's OCD-like behavior on her part.) Also, it sometimes takes years to recognize diamonds you couldn't "see" at the time.
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Old 05-07-2019   #8
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Went through a similar phase 10 years ago. All my work which consisted of heavily manipulated digital images, went to the bin and deleted them from any websites I had them on. Just woke up one day and they felt like unimportant. I realized that I enjoyed more recording life in the streets rather than spending time on the computer making digital pictures of landscapes looking like paintings.
No regret whatsoever, never looked back. I think I outgrew that phase, I am more satisfied with what I do now.
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Old 05-07-2019   #9
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I did a ruthless cull of my negs a couple of years ago .

It`s surprising how much you take does not work and has no emotional value either.
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Old 05-07-2019   #10
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I have the same dilemma. I've been going through boxes of prints, almost all black and white, and binders full of negatives dating back to the mid 70s. Some that I did for work, mostly high school sports, get tossed without a second look. The decision is tougher for others. So far, I haven't made as much headway as I would like. But I know, having reached the age of 74, that I have to do this because no one else will.
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Old 05-07-2019   #11
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Hard question and no easy answer. I have the same stuff only at my house and I've been slowly going through it: hoping for a masterpiece.

When my mother was growing up she lived on an island in Alaska with a very small town. Her high school class was under 20 people. I guess for a graduation they went on an over night trip some place on the island. When she died I found a photo from that trip her and her female classmates all naked posing with fir boughs somewhat covering them. I didn't keep that photo, now years later I wish I had (photo from 1935).
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Old 05-07-2019   #12
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Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
I'm frankly surprised that you would throw out so much of your photographic history. To each their own; it must have been a very arduous and yet ultimately positive process for you.
It was, to a degree. Mostly the lab prints were tossed, and a good handful of whole rolls. Really relieved my mental clutter in a way. It could have taken a lot less time without the emotional burden.

To be fair, most of these were not keepers in any way, just snapshots that triggered a lot of obscure, albeit mundane, memories. To use one example, as I was describing the process to someone, one roll had a number of blurry photos of a tree. I remember the exact moment: a gray November day, walking along the Burke-Gilman Trail in 2006. I met with a friend at Pita Pit for lunch. A neutral memory I have no particular attachment to. To anyone else, it's just...a blurry photo of a tree. Nothing visually interesting, or family events, or that even might be of historical interest to future generations.

Back then, I photographed everything. Kept notes on lenses, film, etc, as I experimented. I guess that's how we learn. And like presspass, literally hundreds of rolls shot for photography classes, school newspaper/yearbooks, etc. that didn't need to be hung on to. (Still have my old yearbooks and proud that a lot of work was mine! Hung onto one photo of our newsroom from the day upgraded our beige G3s for G5s!)

The keeper negs, and there were still many, are now sitting waiting to be scanned when I've got the time, which, well, I do now. By around 2008 or so I was getting things scanned low-res, so I at least know what was on each roll. Sadly some of the drugstore-processed rolls of family outings are now badly degraded. But those pseudo-artsy 8th-grade art class rolls developed at home? Clear as day!

Olifaunt: Very true on hindsight. There were definitely gems in there I hadn't really seen the value in at the time. These days I cull the obvious: blurry, poorly exposed, etc shots, and those that would be far more work printing/post-processing than they're worth. The rest I do keep and revisit every so often. The professor who once advised me to only choose one or two keepers per roll was very much against batch scanning, but I do appreciate having everything digitized. Storage these days is cheaper than time spent searching through contact sheets.

My mother was inspired by this to sort through her own father's work, which she's dutifully carried around the country for the last nearly 50 years. He was a prolific and accomplished photographer, and some of the prints are truly masterful. Unfortunately, all the negs were tossed, and much of the 6x6 Kodachromes are damaged or faded. That project will be a much bigger undertaking. Her parents passed when she was a teenager and sadly most of the family albums were destroyed in a flood, so perhaps thats where our shared over-sentimentality comes from.

Onto the next decade, however. PRJ—How are you liking Capture One? I was an early adopter of Aperture and worrying about the impending demise with the move to 64 bit. I'm hoping I can get everything sorted and cleaned up before then. And instill equally good archival hygiene in my brother, who just took up photography.
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Old 05-08-2019   #13
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To be fair, most of these were not keepers in any way, just snapshots that triggered a lot of obscure, albeit mundane, memories. To use one example, as I was describing the process to someone, one roll had a number of blurry photos of a tree. I remember the exact moment: a gray November day, walking along the Burke-Gilman Trail in 2006. I met with a friend at Pita Pit for lunch. A neutral memory I have no particular attachment to.
This is why I keep everything. Even if it has no artistic value, it jogs my memory. There is so much of my life that is lost in the mists of time and this way some of it comes back. Just the other day, some simple pictures of days I spent with an ex brought back fond memories I wouldn't otherwise have had access to. They weren't even anything personal, just mostly snaps from the car window, often blurry, but seeing them brought back the feeling of that day, smells of leaves and food, wind and temperature, atmosphere of a drive.

Of course the pictures I consider art are important to me. Everything is an attempt at art, but the ones that succeed are a very small percentage, so I am finding different ways of consuming my own pictures; mostly what my photos are about to me is simply recalling the subjectivity of inhabiting myself on a given day, often with the help of music and pot (which helps make even ordinary pictures into very meaningful memories). If I threw away those images, I would never recall those days again. Well, I would in a general sense, but not in that amount of specificity.
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Old 05-08-2019   #14
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I keep all family pictures.

I delete or throw away all of my other work after I fully analyze it and understand what was wrong with it. This keeps me from pretending a picture was good when it really was not, and helps me to improve. If I post anything online, it is only to solicit criticism. I delete it shortly after. This keeps me from pretending that my work is actually good enough to be called art. If it is ever good enough, I think I will know; but I am far from that point, and there is no use pretending I am not.
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Old 05-08-2019   #15
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I keep all family pictures.

I delete or throw away all of my other work after I fully analyze it and understand what was wrong with it. This keeps me from pretending a picture was good when it really was not, and helps me to improve. If I post anything online, it is only to solicit criticism. I delete it shortly after. This keeps me from pretending that my work is actually good enough to be called art. If it is ever good enough, I think I will know; but I am far from that point, and there is no use pretending I am not.
It is very difficult to judge one's own stuff, so I also crowdsource my education. What has made me improve a lot has been submitting my work to moderated galleries whose curators I have a lot of respect for (e.g., on Flickr) where approval into the group pool means that your photo has some merit in the eyes of someone who knows something, and building a following of photographers whose work I really respect and whose faves (or lack of faves) mean something. Most of my photos posted fail and I cull them, but the ones that have survived have been growing into a portfolio of stuff I am finally quite proud of.

I still don't know what's wrong with some pictures and that will probably remain the case, but I have learned quite a bit at least.
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Old 05-08-2019   #16
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I pitched a large amount of my stuff earlier this year, and know that this was only an initial cut -- I may end up pitching the majority of what's left at some point, when we downsize. Mostly these were prints taken of stuff that was only of interest to me (new to me camera or lens, for instance) and certainly nothing that was unique. It was appalling to me to realize how much money all this represented! And yes, I can remember just about every frame -- what I was thinking when taking the picture. But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of it just wasn't worth keeping.
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Old 05-08-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
.....

Onto the next decade, however. PRJ—How are you liking Capture One? I was an early adopter of Aperture and worrying about the impending demise with the move to 64 bit. I'm hoping I can get everything sorted and cleaned up before then. And instill equally good archival hygiene in my brother, who just took up photography.
It produces better color than Lightroom but Lightroom is more seamless in organization. Not hugely though. I was used to Lightroom, so I noticed the differences. If you don't have any habits, Capture One should work perfectly.

I should note also that I use Capture One for digtal and Lightroom for film. I don't recall ever trying to use CO for film. The back and forth to Photoshop isn't as seamless as Lightroom either.

Just don't be like some people I know who are great photographers but can't find an image when they need to...

I used to be that way. Back about 15 years ago finding a negative meant looking through boxes of negatives. Sometimes it would take me an hour to find a neg and that is a serious amount of time wasted. These days I can find a neg in a few seconds in Lightroom, then go to my binders and take it right out.

On the downside, getting organized is a royal PITA, I ain't gonna lie. In around 2005 I organized everything by year which wasn't too hard. Maybe took a day. In around 2007 I started scanning everything I shot to keep it cataloged. In 2012 I went back and scanned everything before that. It took a solid month of doing nothing else except scanning, but it was probably 25000 negs I'd guess. I found a lot of great shots though. Now that it is all done, I can say it was the best thing I ever did.

I took a look at your blog Ian and you make some exceptional photographs. You should get your ducks in a row...
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Old 05-08-2019   #18
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No one will care about the pictures we make when we die. Which means no one really cares about the pictures we make now.
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Old 05-08-2019   #19
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No one will care about the pictures we make when we die. Which means no one really cares about the pictures we make now.
I have no idea why you would say that. We have a family photo album with pictures from the early 1900s through the 1950s that is highly valued amongst the whole family. Lots of us care a great deal for those pictures. To give one example: one picture is of my mother as a teenager riding two horses at the same time, standing with a foot on each saddle. I would never have known she was such a daredevil otherwise. (You know - "Pictures or it didn't happen.")
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Old 05-09-2019   #20
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Letting go of old cameras is just as hard...


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Old 05-09-2019   #21
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I have no idea why you would say that. We have a family photo album with pictures from the early 1900s through the 1950s that is highly valued amongst the whole family. Lots of us care a great deal for those pictures. To give one example: one picture is of my mother as a teenager riding two horses at the same time, standing with a foot on each saddle. I would never have known she was such a daredevil otherwise. (You know - "Pictures or it didn't happen.")
Well, I suppose I say it because I sense it is probably true. Family pictures are one thing, but all the rest of it is self-indulgent dilettantism. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like making pictures as much as the next gal. But to suppose that anyone will care about those pictures after I am dead is just nonsense. And the overwhelming odds are that the same is true for nearly everyone.
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Old 05-09-2019   #22
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No one will care about the pictures we make when we die. Which means no one really cares about the pictures we make now.

While not universal, I have existential evidence that what you say here is total bull****. Perhaps you fancy yourself an agent provocateur or something. If so, do carry on.
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Old 05-09-2019   #23
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No one will care about the pictures we make when we die. Which means no one really cares about the pictures we make now.
I care about my photos. I make photos to please myself.
I don't expect others to like my work, nor do I care.

Letting go of old work? My hand was forced.

In Superstorm Sandy two feet of flood water in my home destroyed all my photos, negatives and slides.
Nearly all of 40+ years of my own photos, plus many others taken by my mom and other family members.

FWIW I miss the family photos more than my own work. Many of those people are gone now...

Chris
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Old 05-09-2019   #24
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I still feel bad about having tossed, around 1963 or so, a Kodachrome-X slide I took of a rusty 50 gallon drum in the Nevada desert. I took it with my M2 and 90mm Elmarit (I still have those). It taught me, not to save every photo no matter how banal, but to think twice before pitching my shots.

Nice film, that Kodachrome-X.
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Old 05-09-2019   #25
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This is why I keep everything. Even if it has no artistic value, it jogs my memory. There is so much of my life that is lost in the mists of time and this way some of it comes back. Just the other day, some simple pictures of days I spent with an ex brought back fond memories I wouldn't otherwise have had access to. They weren't even anything personal, just mostly snaps from the car window, often blurry, but seeing them brought back the feeling of that day, smells of leaves and food, wind and temperature, atmosphere of a drive.

A few years ago, I found an old 110 cassette camera which had an undeveloped roll in it. The last time I saw it was in the early 80s. When I had it developed, I was absolutely thrilled to see pictures of my best friend at the time and my childhood backyard. The images are spotty and blurry but the memories were so good.


For much of my life, I've been keeping pretty detailed journals, often with notes about what music I'm listening to and what food I'm eating at the time. So when I want a good nostalgia trip, I break out the music that was noted in the journal, sit in a quiet place, and read. It's amazing how much can come back. Scent is extremely powerful, too. I admit that I used to keep a bottle of the perfume my first girlfriend used to use, so I could smell it and remember her.


It's one of my most profound regrets that I didn't take a lot more pictures in my teenage and early adult years, because that's a boatload of good memories for which I have very little photographic record.


Nowadays, I take pictures of everything, and shoot a fair bit of video as well, so the past 17 years or so are very well covered. In the past five or six years, I've taken to writing in my journal every day, noting events, places, people and activities, as well as thoughts, so on any given day, I know where I was and what I was doing. I'll continue this for the rest of my life, very likely.
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Old 05-09-2019   #26
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Have kept a few photos, discarded 90% or more though. Mostly family stuff. I'm a week shy of 70 and now only want to go out and make 'masterpieces'. Getting ready to cut up a pile of photo paper and load my 4X5 film holders. I figure a busy day would be exposing 6~12 sheets. A lot easier to view, file, and put away than 35mm negs.
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Old 05-09-2019   #27
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In Superstorm Sandy two feet of flood water in my home destroyed all my photos, negatives and slides.
Nearly all of 40+ years of my own photos, plus many others taken by my mom and other family members.

FWIW I miss the family photos more than my own work. Many of those people are gone now...

Chris

Man, that's just terrible. I'm sorry for that loss.
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Old 05-12-2019   #28
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While not universal, I have existential evidence that what you say here is total bull****. Perhaps you fancy yourself an agent provocateur or something. If so, do carry on.
It is only truth, my friend. Consider Marcus Aurelius.

The time is at hand when you will have forgotten everything; and the time is at hand when all will have forgotten you. Always reflect that soon you will be no one, and nowhere.

The sentiment applies cogently to pictures.
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Old 05-12-2019   #29
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...... I'd like to hear from others about how they deal with decades of old work, especially what hasn't seen the light of day. ......

In the late 1980's I threw away the total of 12 years of attempted serious photography including notebook after notebook of negatives & proof sheets, proof prints, printing notes, boxes of 35mm slides, and a number of framed prints, keeping only a few prints of family photos that I considered significant. I had essentially stopped photographing a few years earlier after concluding my photography was not of any real merit. I had already sold multiple cameras, lenses, and a very nice darkroom. I have never regretted that decision.

For 20 years, I basically only did family happy snaps using one SLR and lens I had kept.

In the late 1990's, I developed an interest in my local disappearing local culture and began photographing again. I was able to make a total fresh start utilizing only the technical skills from way back in the past. I am pleased with my photographic results of the last 20 years but do not miss all of my earlier work that is now totally gone.

This is the only remains of that earlier work that was discarded. It is a scan of a print that my sister still has hanging in her house. It is from Bike Week in Daytona Beach back in 1973.
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Old 05-12-2019   #30
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It's one of my most profound regrets that I didn't take a lot more pictures in my teenage and early adult years, because that's a boatload of good memories for which I have very little photographic record.
Yes I can relate to that. In the early `70`s I was helping a friend with concerts and festivals . All the big names of the time : Byrds ,Sonny Terry ,Taylor , Hardin and I didn`t carry a camera . Zero photographic record only the memories. I was doing a job and a camera may not have been welcome but still ...
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Old 05-13-2019   #31
olifaunt
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I've decided that if I am only going to consider my photography as valid insofar I can get masterpieces, I will be a very unhappy photographer (since masterpieces are rare).

I'd rather put on some music, smoke a joint, and page through folders of every single photo I have of a certain day/weekend. In this state every photo, even otherwise mundane ones I wouldn't share, has a little Where's Waldo realization of the reason I took it that makes it suddenly fabulous, or some element of it dances with the music. It's better than going to the movies.
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Old 05-15-2019   #32
LCSmith
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Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
I've decided that if I am only going to consider my photography as valid insofar I can get masterpieces, I will be a very unhappy photographer (since masterpieces are rare).

I'd rather put on some music, smoke a joint, and page through folders of every single photo I have of a certain day/weekend. In this state every photo, even otherwise mundane ones I wouldn't share, has a little Where's Waldo realization of the reason I took it that makes it suddenly fabulous, or some element of it dances with the music. It's better than going to the movies.
I have been thinking about my absolutist and dim statements about the worth of one's photography, and I think yours is a saner philosophy of artistic practice.

I recently finished The Stranger by Camus, and it has a way of rejuvenating any latent apathy that may lurk in one's soul. Such has been the case with me.
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Old 05-15-2019   #33
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Am having digital-only archive. Guess my way of 'letting go' is to gently start ignoring all the average photos as time piles on top of them. They are still on an external hard drive, but am hardly ever looking at them. Best ones are now edited and pushed into cloud, so can access them with all the devices when feeling like.
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Old 05-15-2019   #34
Takkun
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Originally Posted by LCSmith View Post
I have been thinking about my absolutist and dim statements about the worth of one's photography, and I think yours is a saner philosophy of artistic practice.

I recently finished The Stranger by Camus, and it has a way of rejuvenating any latent apathy that may lurk in one's soul. Such has been the case with me.
I think after a handful of cynical threads begun by a certain Airplane! character, your comments were taken as hostile, but I totally get what you're saying. In the end, its a hobby for 99% of us and worth keeping that in perspective.

One professor I had early in grad school very much stressed the importance of using the best archival materials and methods, and keeping every shot and detailed notes on them. When he passed away, I was invited to help in cleaning out and organizing his office and the darkroom before it got sent to the library archives.

Good god. It was a mess. The man had countless images of Seattle being built over 40 years that were a fantastic record of history, but untold thousands more of test shots, poor exposures, random strangers, and other miscellanea, not to mention entire boxes of undeveloped rolls and sheets. I ended up declining for a number of reasons, and it's all sitting in storage now; someone told me it likely never will be fully catalogued. It would take someone years full-time to get through it all.

I've spent enough time in research archives to know that sometimes various ephemera is valuable—in researching an obscure home designed by a lesser-known local architect, finding original napkin sketches illuminated both the building and architect's history—but a lot of it is useless. (The same file was almost entirely filled with appliance cut sheets) I'm sure there are plenty of unprinted shots in his archive that will be fascinating to see, but only after sorting through the crap.

More importantly, most of us are not going to be lucky enough to have our entire work catalogued and archived, let alone sought out. And so what if some shots are lost to history before they ever make it that far?

Getting back to your original statement: Camus had a profound effect on me in, cheesy enough, a freshman philosophy class. Often when I'm out shooting for my own purposes I get that sinking feeling of 'why am I even doing this? Why does it all matter?' but that could be applied to virtually anything. There's a lot of self-seriousness in this (and many other hobbies) and I try not to fall into that.
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Old 05-15-2019   #35
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I took a look at your blog Ian and you make some exceptional photographs. You should get your ducks in a row...
I really appreciate that compliment more than I can really relate in a forum post...After another long break from even touching a camera (for numerous reasons), got back into it last fall and remembered how much satisfaction it brings, both to myself and others.

I've got five upcoming exhibitions, so I really do need to get things organized--that's my summer project as well.

Re: Capture One—I'm definitely leaning toward it. Apple Photos isn't enough control, and I'm not particularly fond of Adobe and their subscription model. I figure I bought the student edition of Aperture in 2006 so I've definitely gotten my money's worth.
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Old 05-15-2019   #36
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Well, I suppose I say it because I sense it is probably true. Family pictures are one thing, but all the rest of it is self-indulgent dilettantism. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like making pictures as much as the next gal. But to suppose that anyone will care about those pictures after I am dead is just nonsense. And the overwhelming odds are that the same is true for nearly everyone.

I agree with this. I also think this statement is not negative; in fact I view it as positive as admitting to this does not contradict the idea that the making of anyone's work is still a fulfilling way to live. The idea it must be important to someone (anyone) besides yourself is an illusion that the future is better than the present. We all hope someone likes what we do, just don't bet on it...

My family had a huge drawer of family and work photos spanning decades. Maybe 1 in 20 had any sort of date or name written on it. Might as well have been looking at strangers; I guess I was!


Edit: I chucked a bunch of stuff last year. If you can't see the magic right away then there probably isn't any. Recheck in 6 months. YMMV.
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