With a Lightroom library overstuffed with hard drive clogging images, I’ve taken to some housecleaning of late. It’s not an easy task as any venture onto my photographic memory lane tends to weigh me down in nostalgia and reminiscence. I’ve enjoyed these side trips immensely but they don’t help with the task at hand, a task of unclogging.
It’s a useful exercise as I am simultaneously reminded of my progress as well as lack of it. I rediscover the various phases of pursuit including high contrast monotone, long exposure, high key, and high dynamic range (oh, all those bracketed shots). I recall the rendering characteristics of the different cameras I’ve owned, for example the cooler leanings of the Nikons, the warmer toning of the Olympus’, and so forth. I think about the macro lens experiments (flowers, flowers and then more flowers), the long telephoto zoom (how many interesting shots of pigeons does the world actually need?) and the fine art portrait lens (our Lhasa Apso, Shadow, was an unwilling but capable subject). I think about the many phases of my photography.
I’ve also been struck by how many photos fill my library that have blown out splotches of glare and light, either directly in frame or just beyond it. This is the shooting-into-the-sun phenomenon. But it’s photography 101, artistic public enemy No. 1, the classic noob fail to shoot this way. Yet, through all the years, spanning across countless cameras, different styles and interests… there they all sit. Images taken from a lens pointed directly into the sun. And quite frequently over water.
Well, for the one who is trying to clean house, this makes things easier. Simply gather up all these worthless shots, place them into a folder and when done scouring through the entire library, give them the proper heave ho. Right?
Yet in that folder they sit. I haven’t deleted them. I can’t. I linger through them, almost affectionately. As though it’s an odd Sophie’s Choice and I’m left frozen, unstirred. Why can’t I delete these unusable images? Why do I hold onto them? What’s holding me back? Why this unmoving?