I’ve spent way too long curating my digital photo albums. It’s not as though I am a prolific photographer, but having a camera on hand for any given moment allows me to accumulate images at a fantastic pace.
The largest album was from a New York trip from the pre-Mrs G days, with over 800 photos of various Gotham landmarks. If there is an angle of the Chrysler Building I don’t have a digital recording of then it doesn’t really exist.
I have all these photos but the sad thing is I never really look at any of them, they are all disposable snapshots of a moment in time that I missed because I was looking to capture it.
I did some mental arithmetic earlier. I say mental because using a calculator and Google is basically the same as doing it in your head nowadays, in the future I can imagine complaining about the chips kids have in their eyes that automatically do the sums for them. I tried to work out how far my photos would stretch if I printed them all out on 6×4 prints.
A mile, I would have a mile of photos. In context the Bayeaux Tapestry is just over 200 feet long and at best I can only remember two scenes, the one of the guy on the toilet and the old arrow in the eye. So when my own photographic record stretches many times longer how can I single out any image.
The best I hope for is that a decent image appears on the wallpaper of my phone. This is the only time I delve back into the archives, and among all the photos of food and landmarks are a few of people and family. All these memories are obscured by icons and widgets and determined by a random selection.
How many images are lost in Facebook albums, or in the deep depths of my Instagram feed, never to be seen again? I doubt this is any better than the dusty plastic envelopes of real photos that live in old show boxes in the back of cupboards. Yet all my images are disposable.
I can reduce years of memory in a ctrl+a then del in an instant. To destroy real pictures takes a lot more effort and time. Maybe this is the big difference, today the capture of a moment is simple and quick. There is no selecting the right moment and taking the effort to get the prints back, then placing them in a book to keep.
My photos have no story, they are simply point and click adventures with no story.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Snapshot Stories.”
Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.