Current status: Still sorting photos

It’s March 2023, and it’s been about one year since I started digitising my photo collection.

Once I established a proper workflow, the task of scanning slides, negatives, and photo prints was a surprisingly quick — albeit tedious — process (and I will be writing a few words about that another time). What I hadn’t counted on was the amount of time that researching, naming, and sorting of the resultant scans would ultimately take. I will certainly be writing a few words about each of these aspects, too (time permitting).

As a matter of fact, I’m still busy sorting though scanned photos now.

It’s shocking to realise that I have more (digital) pictures of a puppy I sold last year than of my own mother’s entire lifetime!

While most snaps have now found a home in a rearranged folder scheme, there’s also a stack of vernacular garbage getting deleted because it’s lost all meaning and relevance (which I have written about before).

On the other hand there are also some wonderful photographs among the family stash of slides and negatives which, although I have no personal relationship with the captured moments and they therefore have no place in my (digital) photo album, are good enough to keep for their own sake.

African sunset over industrial billowing chimneys, early seventies

Then there are others such as those my father took in the early seventies during the construction of the Cabora Bassa hydroelectric power scheme which may hold some historical or geopolitical interest to other people.

Cabora Bassa Dam under construction, early seventies

These will probably end up on Wikimedia Commons whereas other photos of public interest may find refuge at Google Places. Flickr, too, seems worth returning to, and there’s an assemblage of new material for the Human Clock.

This stuff can keep a man way too occupied. That’s all for now.

Photos via Herbert Hönigsperger Snr.

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Review: 2022

Well, here we are again: it’s Christmas 2022. Another year draws to a close.

2022 was a bit of a blurry blemish despite several significant events in my personal life.

If it wasn’t for calendars, one could be forgiven for feeling that we’re still in 2020 or went way back to the year 1920. Indeed, 2022 may be remembered as the fuzzy period during which the world turned into a steaming pile of shit – but only in part due to pollution or climate change: it’s humanity that’s lagging behind its own technological advances.

In 2022 it became illegal to have sex in Indonesia – unless you’re married. The Iranian morality police also stepped up their game and took to beating women to death for not wearing their hijab correctly while the Taliban decided that Afghani women need not be educated. American women’s constitutional right to an abortion was revoked.

Of course there were the usual mass shootings and hurricanes in the USA.

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Photography: What’s the point?

Here’s a photo of a puppy.

Cuteness overload: One month old labrador puppy

Ain’t it just adorable?

Of course it is! Everyone likes pictures of cute puppies.

But why am I showing you this photo? Because I’m proud of it.

No, not so much for its photographic technique but because I’m rather chuffed about the subject matter and everything that goes with the birth of a litter. Not surprisingly, over the last few months I took many cute pictures for reasons which include not only tracking the puppies’ development but also for advertising: many served as “product photos” (harsh as this may sound) because most of the puppies were put on the market.

Then there’s the aspect of personal memories.

Much in the same manner that proud parents take countless pictures of their children (whose numbers tend to diminish as the novelty wears off), photos serve as reminders of what the offspring looked like at a certain age because “they grow up so fast”. They will never look the same again.

Photos and the memories behind them are priceless – for a period.

With that said and now that certain affairs have been gotten in order and the puppies are bigger, I can return to the project of digitising my photo albums and consolidating what amounts to a rough count of over 8000 photos. There are duplicates, some are plain rubbish, and there are others that have completely lost all purpose and meaning over time.

Consequently, many are being deleted, and this has made me ponder about what it is that makes us take photos in the first place.

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Mixed emotions: Papa was a rolling stone

Life is full of serendipity and awkward coincidences.

I recently wrote about the trip down memory lane which the sorting and filing of digitised photographs was due to take me; what I hadn’t foreseen was how emotional a ride this would eventually become. Anyone looking through old photographs knows to expect to see pictures of those who are no longer with us. This is normal.

We know they’re dead, and they’ve usually been so for a while.

Not so in my case: A few weeks ago I was sorting through old photos of my father while, simultaneously and elsewhere, he lay dying a bitter and lonely man. Life is cruel.

When the police came over to make the announcement the following morning I was overcome by a sense of relief. It was almost… expected.

Emotions were mixed. They covered the full spectrum from elation to grief.

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The obsolescence of family photo albums

One of my projects for the year is to digitise my “photo albums”.

Like many people of my generation I still have genuine photo prints from the analogue childhood days, along with school class photos and others received from friends and family through the post. These were stuck into carefully assembled photo albums.

Then there’s the proverbial shoe box full of other random pictures that never made it into photo albums — not to mention slides, negatives, and CD-ROMs from when photo labs started to give you image files instead of the negatives from a roll of film. Everybody has photographs of some sort and in some form(at) stashed away somewhere.

The time has come to finally digitise and consolidate the lot.

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