Do you know who this is? (answer at bottom of post)
Sort out your photos and go digital, and you help to appreciate the photographs you do have, get rid of ones that get lost amid the clutter, and going digital helps reduce gelatine (bone – still used in some conventional camera films and photo papers).
England is awash in millions of photographs. Many people have albums of photos that contain pictures of clouds from aeroplanes (or the tops of people’s heads). And less is more. If you have all these, then often you stash away the precious photos, that never see the light of day. All simple living writers suggest binning the ones you no longer need (and it’s good psychology to get rid of ones that make you upset like photos near to school bullies or relationships that went sour). Then keep what’s left, blow them up and actually display them on the wall.
Don’t feel guilty about throwing old photos away. They are only memories. Writer Paulo Coelho never takes photos at all, he keeps all his memories in his head. Today it’s good that old-style cameras with gelatin film are disappearing. But modern cameras are quite complicated, so people now take thousands of photos on their iPhone (often to display themselves on social media).
Unless you are a ‘real photographer’, keep it simple. Just have one simple camera (and that can be your phone) and leave everything else to the professionals. Indigenous Australians don’t like people taking their photos, as they think it may take their spirit away. Amish people aren’t against photography per se, but won’t pose for them. The odd photo is nice, but don’t go overboard with thousands of them. Some people spend so much time taking ‘memories’, they forget to live in the moment.
- How to Rule at Photography is a tiny how-to book with 50 bite-size tips to help take good photos on your phone.
- If you are a professional photographer or enthusiastic amateur, take a look at these stunning web themes for photographers.
- You may wish to enter snaps at the annual British Wildlife Photographer Awards. Your work could end up in one of their books.
- Wildlife Photography: Saving My Life One Frame at a Time is a book by a former soldier who recovered from post-traumatic stress & depression, by discovering a hobby and talent for wildlife photography. A blend of his story and photography tips.
- Got photography or design skills? Volunteer with Operation Photo Rescue, which helps restore photos lost to fire & flood.
What to Do with Unwanted Photos?
As long as you know there is a risk of losing them, you can post photos to companies that will scan them, and put them on a disk. But it’s likely a better idea to pour yourself a glass of wine, and take time to go through thousands of photos, picking out those you love best ,and displaying them in a nice album.
Karen Kingston suggests binning unwanted photos (you can’t recycle or burn them, as most have toxic backing). She says nothing bad will happen (just think of all the photos on newspapers that are binned each day). Keep the good ones, but keep memories in your heart, not within a piece of toxic paper. Say a prayer of thanks, then just let them go.
Who is the Woman?
The power of good photography was no more evident that in 1985, when Steve McCurry took this iconic image of 12-year old refugee Sharbat Gula, who had lost her parents age 6 due to war, and trekked by foot with her siblings and grandmother to Pakistan.
She never knew how much her piercing green eyes had brought her country’s plight to the world’s attention, after appearing on National Geographic magazine. When Steve tracked her down decades later, he found that she had raised 4 children (a fifth died in infancy) and was a widow. Although other women don’t fare as well, the Afghan government (no doubt mindful of media attention) now looks after their ‘Afghan Mona Lisa’, so at least she personally has a better life.