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filling the void

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What do you do with the pictures you take?

What do you do with the pictures you take? Say you go on vacation, or attend some event, or just take a walk somewhere and take some pictures. Provided that taking photos isn't actually what you do for a living, in which case I can fully imagine what you do with the pictures you take, what do you do with the pictures you take?
Do you view them often? Do you perform any post processing? Remove some red eyes, do some cropping, maybe enhance some of the colors? Do you keep an account on flickr or any other photo-sharing service? Picasa perhaps? Do you put your images online for the world to see, or do you keep them to yourself? Do you discard bad photographs and only keep the good, and if so, how do you determine what constitutes a "good" photograph?

I recently went on vacation to Portugal and Spain together with my girlfriend. We visited different cities, hung out on the beach, met some friends, and, of course, took some pictures. All in all we took around 450 pictures. Based on the adage that you might get one good picture per roll of 36 images (from the good old days, before the age of the digital camera), that leaves us with only a handful of "good" pictures. Should I keep only these, or transfer only these to a special album, perhaps? If I were to delete the others, I've lost any chance of ever changing my mind about a picture. If I keep them, I'm using up unnecessary space retaining things that I may never look at again. The questions about what to do with the pictures you take are, to me, endless. That's why I want to hear from you. What do you do with your pictures? Do you think that what you do, whatever it may be, justifies the resources you dedicate to taking the pictures.
In the case of carrying around a small point-and-shoot, or even taking pictures with your mobile phone, the resources spent are very small. If you carry around an SLR, potentially with multiple lenses, and do lots of post-processing, the resources spent are very large (if you can say call resources 'small' and 'large').

One of the reasons I ask is that I've always wanted an SLR. Even before the concept of digital cameras was something the common man new about, I've wanted a real camera. I've drooled over these things since my early teens, and yet I can't bring myself to buy one. Sure, they cost a bit, but that's not it. I have a hard time justifying to myself why I should own one. After all, I keep all my pictures, even the bad one, and do virtually no post processing. I look at my pictures often enough to know my collection by heart, but that's all I do. Last night, I asked myself: "what would I do with the pictures I take, if I had a great camera?". The answer was "nothing". This is the final nail in the coffin of my longing to own a real camera, I think. I could probably create a very nice looking smaller collection of "good" pictures based on the 10000 or so pictures I already have, but I don't. I don't sit down and spend the time and nurture my pictures to perfection. Probably because I know that virtually noone will ever see them. Granted, perfection is a goal in itself, but like any creator, I want an audience for the things I create. It's the same thing with software (which I'm considerably better at then photography). Without users, the light lit at the beginning of a project fades fast after the first 1.0 release. The same, I think, would happen after the "toy" period of purchasing a new camera.

Anyway, enough about my purchase anxiety. If you want to share what you do with your pictures with the rest of the world (read "my meager readership"), then please post a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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2 Comments:

  • I do absolutely no post processing with my pictures at all, which sucks, mostly because i refuse to use windows, and all "good" programs are designed to work only on windows. I'v spent way over 15.000 on a SLR camera, but still mostly use the standard "point and shoot" option since i suck at guessing what settings would look good, and i take too few photos to manage to learn what settings to use.

    I like to collect stuff though so i save every picture i take, or people send to me, i guess when im old i might appreciate to look back at my life in pictures.

    The largest problem i have with pictures is how to store them. Even with a raid, the risk of everything going to hell is quite large. Im concidering purchasing a few gigs of space on some online storage, nuclear safe company. Or since CF cards are getting uber cheap now, maybe just letting the pictures remain on the CF, this doesn't help a case of fire though.

    Looking back i should have thought more like you, am i too lazy to use all the fancy gear? is this just another cock extender? Its a wise choice to not purchase a SLR unless your a fanatic.

    By Anonymous _max_, at Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 1:51:00 PM GMT+2  

  • I just counted, and I have 22979 pictures, totaling 22.2GB. As much as I'd like off-site backups, I don't think I could afford to store that much data. I do keep my images on 3 (or so) different hard drives, of which only 1 is ever simultaneously connected to my PC (except when I do my backing up). This is to prevent software from accidentally erasing my pictures. Like you, it won't protect me from fire, but at least it's something.

    By Blogger Markus, at Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 6:11:00 PM GMT+2  

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