17 Jul Are your photos making you tired?
Recently someone contacted me to discuss how I could help them with their photo collection. They mentioned that they had just been on a 3 week holiday and had come home with 18,000 (yes thousand) photos from that trip. On hearing that number I knew instinctively that was too many!! Too many to store, too many to use and too many to enjoy. Surely this kind of digital photo overload could only be a burden. Just thinking about that number made me tired. So, I started to ponder and research how can I help highlight the importance of taking fewer photos.
I found an article written back in 2014 by Braden s Thompson who noted that “In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter is sitting with Sean O’Connell, famed adventure photographer, when a rare snow leopard comes into frame. After a few seconds, Walter becomes anxious and asks when Sean is going to take the picture. Sean’s reply is beautiful and inspiring:
Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”
I knew this was what I wanted to teach people, to trust their memories more and focus on being present in the moment as opposed to focusing their camera on the moment.
As I continued my research I learned about Maryanne Garry, a psychology professor in New Zealand. For years, she has studied the effects of photography on our childhood memories. Maryanne was quoted as saying “…they’ve got a thousand photos, and then they just dump the photos somewhere and don’t really look at them very much, ’cause it’s too difficult to tag them and organize them,” a classic example of an excess of digital photos going into the too hard basket. In that same article I discovered psychologist Linda Henkel who says “memories are impaired because relying on an external memory aid means you subconsciously count on the camera to remember the details for you.
As soon as you hit ‘click’ on that camera, it’s as if you’ve outsourced your memory…any time we … count on these external memory devices, we’re taking away from the kind of mental cognitive processing that might help us actually remember that stuff on our own.”
Sociologist Martin Hand writes in his book Ubiquitous Photography that
“Aside from anxieties about accidental deletion or irrevocable loss, people often express concern over the inability to organize, classify or even look at all their digital images in ways that are meaningful for them.”
Suddenly it seems our photo collections are becoming less and less a source of joy that allow us to reflect and reminisce but a burden that mentally overwhelms and exhausts us.
Thinking back to that 18,000 worth of holiday images, I was certain that my entire digital photo collection spanning 15 years and also including scanned images from pre digital era was less than that number. Because I have a digital photo hub, it was simple enough for me to look up and check how many I did have in my personal collection. As you can see I have 17,207 images and video files in 305 folders.
Do you know your number? How quickly could you find out how large your digital photo collection is? Are you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by your photos and attempts to manage them? Please join the conversation and if you need our help to find the right solution for your needs please do not hesitate to contact us.