1 – On my hard disk there are about 17,500 digital photos taken over the last 15 years or so. That’s a lot of photographs.
2 – Would my life be any worse if I didn’t have these thousands of photographs?
3 – The eleven photographs that illustrate this are randomly taken from the directories on my hard-drive. Would my life be any worse if I deleted eleven random photos from that directory? Is my life improved by re-surfacing these images?
4 – I take photographs of things that catch my eye; as souvenirs of moments. But I go back to very few of the photographs I take.
5 – The closing chapters of Benoit Peeter’s biography of Jacques Derrida are incredibly sad. After a lifetime wrestling with his mortality, Derrida discovers that he has pancreatic cancer. “He’d open a folder, take out a letter, and tell me a bit about its context. He had long dreamed of rereading all his letters; he realized that he would now never do so…”
6 – The Roman philosopher and Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote: Mislead yourself no longer; you will never read these notebooks again now, nor the annals of bygone Romans and Greeks, nor that choice selection of writings you have put by for your old age. Press on then to the finish: cast away vain hopes…” Marcus Aurelius died in 180 CE.
7 – The irony of the quote from Marcus Aurelius is that his notebooks are one of the most precious pieces of literature our civilisation has produced. But I don’t think my photographs would mean much to anyone else. And I’m not sure how important they really are to me. Are they even worth the effort of maintaining backups?
8 – The photographs I like best are the sequences that tell stories. I’ve relived trips with companions, the photographs reminding us of stories, meals, the feeling of being lost. But they don’t mean much without us there to give them context.
9 – I do wish I had more photos of myself when younger. But that comparison between selves is of no importance to anyone else. But I keep these photographs in case I someday find a use for them, or a need for them.
10 – I worry about what will happen when I die. Will someone go through all that data I have kept just in case? Will they feel an obligation from it? My laptop and backups should probably be wiped once I’m gone. I’d hate for anyone to look at these photos and wonder why I took them, to wonder what they meant.
(if you hover over the images there should be some text explaining a little about them)