Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nuclear Photo Bombed

“Unable to take photo, memory card is full.”
“What the hell? I. How could my memory card be full, I’ve got a two giga-byte micro SD card in there? I can’t have that many pictures on my phone. Can I?” I thought to myself as I quickly thumbed to the photo gallery on my phone. When I got to the gallery, I saw the little icons that read “Camera Roll”, “Folders”, “All Photos” and videos. Normally I just hit “All Photos” with my thumb, but this time I actually looked at the numbers next to the folder titles.
“Camera Roll” 683
“Folders” 4
“All Photos” 893”
“Videos” 6
            Once I saw those numbers I knew I had more than my fair share of media I needed to go through and delete. I started with the videos first, simply because there were less of them and they take up the most memory… two of the videos were identical but sent to me by different people, just some youtube stuff of animals acting like animals. (I really like funny animal videos) There was an “off-color” video I had forgotten about, an accidental video I took while I was trying to take a photograph and a video that I had loaded on to facebook. I deleted all of them.
            I then tried to go through the photos by folders, that didn’t work out too well because some of the photos are from when I sync my phone up to facebook, email and even some of my music. So some of the folders within that particular folder had only one picture, I quickly went back to the “All Photos” folder and opened it up. I was surprised at the photos I had on my phone.
            Each picture a subtle reminder of a moment in my life, a second I wanted to hold on to for one reason or another. An experience I wanted to share with others on some future date or just to hang on to for my own selfish reasons. Of the 893 pictures on the card I tried to classify them as I scrolled quickly through them, family, work, friends, art, stupid and miscellaneous. This is how I sorted them in my mind. I then went through each classified photo and tried to decide if I needed to keep it in my life anymore. This took hours of exhaustive review.
            The first photos I sent to binary hell… the art photos. Don’t need ‘em and if I haven’t uploaded them to Google Plus, Facebook or Twitter by now, it is a good chance I will never do it in the future. Next I went through the stupid photos, ok, let me say this about stupid photos, I like them and anything can fit into a stupid photo category. Most of what I call stupid photos though are pictures you have at least two or three of. You know, the photo you took and it was over-exposed, too little light, or a finger got in the way… yeah, those. I trashed most of those too. Bye Bye. Gone with the touch of a thumb. I did manage to save a few, because not all stupid photos are mistakes, some are just plain funny. Like the one I have of a friend who was in a very manic mood and I got a sweet close up shot of their face. You literally can see the insanity of life dancing in the pupil of their eyes. Of course I’ve been sworn to never show this picture to anyone so I keep it for myself and I look at it occasionally and it cheers me up. After all, is not that one of the many reasons to keep pictures… to make you happy when you are down?
            After the purge of the stupid, I moved to the miscellaneous… most of them didn’t stand a chance. I felt like a World War II flame throwing infantryman on D-Day. I literally scorched all the pixilated memories that fell into this category. It happened quite easily and was done with no remorse. Absolutely none of these classified photos were able to tug on a heart-string or unearth any buried memory in my mind. Hell I even tried my damndest to cultivate any emotion that would stop me. I failed.
            Work photos were next and Friends was on deck. Now, about my work photos, most of them are technical pictures of things I need to remember when working on a certain exhibit. In a perfect world I would transfer these instructional aides to my computer, print them up and put them in little plastic sleeve, then put those into a three ring binder and place the binder on a shelf. But, if you’ve seen my office you know all my bookshelves are overflowing with train books, encyclopedias, dystopian novels, science fiction novels, horror novels and even some binders with instructional photos in them… but they are filled and refuse to snap shut anymore. So the ones on my phone, well, they just sit there in limbo waiting for me to look at them when I need to. I showed mercy. They are still alive and well and living in my black and plastic digital device. One day I will transfer them to my computer… not now. All the train pictures… Ok, I saved those too.
            As for my work mates, well they did not fare as well as the tech photos or train photos. Most of them are now past tense… the pictures that is not the real, live, walking, talking, fleshy beings that I come into contact with every day.
            My friends… well, I saved most of those, some got trashed but I value my friends almost as much as I do my family. Of course some of their more incriminating photos were saved and locked away so no one can see them. They are in a very safe place that only I have access to and if any of them ever become a powerful politician or celebrity… I am going to use them to make sure my life gets moved to easy street. (Ok, maybe my morality won’t let me do that. SHUH! RIGHT!)
            The last classification… Family…, I did transfer a bunch of these pictures but I axed most of them. Why? Simple, most family snapshots look terrible and hold very little meaning to me. Don’t read that improperly, like I don’t care for my family. I do. Just hear me out, or better yet, take your phone out of your pocket, purse, bra or whatever you keep it in and scroll on through all the photos of your family members. But don’t look at them as family members; look at the composition of the picture. I’ll wait…
            Did you do it?
            Now tell me, how many of those pictures show a person with their eyes half closed or fully closed, or someone is in the background photobombing the shot? Or someone is flipping the bird, or their mouth is open or the look on their face is that of an irate orangutan? Yeah, I thought so. Please kill those photos and free up some space. See, these are the pictures I sent away. And you know what… it felt good.
            Good in a way that I didn’t know existed. It was a purging of ugly and uncared for moments that have no place in the ever increasing world of ugly and uncaring digital media. Life is too short to have fond memories destroyed by pictures that make the ones you care about look like fools. The exception to this rule is that if you live with clowns or are a member of a circus, then it is perfectly fine to keep those goofed up photos.
            The result… simple, I went from having 893 photos and 6 videos down to 574 photos and zero videos. I now have room on my SD card for at least 240 more pictures. But the real question is, what am I going to do with the pictures I saved and how in the world will I ever find 240 things to take pictures of?
            One last thing, what kind of memories are you holding on to? Good? Bad? Ugly? Funny? Sad? Indifferent? Joyous? Tender? Beautiful? Painful?

Have a great week.

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