What Do You Do With 100,000 Images?

One of the reasons there are currently so few photographs on my website is that I have so many images that it is hard to know where to start. Between colour and monochrome negatives, transparencies, digital photographs, prints and Polaroids I probably have over 100,000 images.

A lot of my work is about documenting change. My home page, if you are patient enough to wait, shows the transformation of a building in Tor di Nona in Rome over a period of 36 years. I have thousands of photographs of Rome and yet the Rome section of my online portfolio is terribly lacking.

I think my problem is that the task of ploughing through so many images is one that I find it very daunting. I just don’t know where to start. That and the fact that I am in the process of selling my house to wander around for a year or two means that the time I should be dedicating to work is limited. I’m collecting boxes to put what few items I want to keep into storage until I eventually find a new place to live.

This is also a bit of an excuse as I am the first to admit that I am also going through a lazy phase in my life. I closed the business that was the main source of my income at the end of March and have been contemplating my navel a lot since then. Maybe after 33 years of work a bit of a rest and time to get my thoughts in order is necessary. At some point I have to take a new direction and I don’t particularly want to start on a wrong path and have to turn back.

I did think of pulling out one interesting photograph a day at random from the archive and captioning it. Again where to start? But at least it would be a start.

I’ve always worked well under pressure, I feel a greater sense of achievement when a job is delivered to a deadline and on time. Editing images on the other hand is drudgery with no real excitement.

I love to take photographs and I like to see the end result. Everything that happens in between I find boring. My life was simpler when I shot film. I would take my films to the lab, they would print them. Now I sit looking at a computer. My dream since I was a teenager was to be a photographer not a computer operator.

Going back to some form of analogue photography has been on my mind. I recently shot 35mm film again during my two month stay in Italy but it really did not bring back the excitement of the past. Lately I have become interested in Polaroid photography again. This gives me instant gratification. I can make an image and see the end printed result without going anywhere near a computer.

I have even started to customising old Polaroid cameras so they suit my specific needs. These don’t even need batteries as they are totally mechanical. I can make photographs without electricity or a computer in the middle of a jungle if necessary. The computer only comes into it if I decide to scan and share the image. More about Polaroids at a later date. Maybe in my next blog.

I should end this blog with a promise. I promise to scan and post an image every day. I like to make promises as I like to think I am a man of my word and once a promise is made I have to keep it. I won’t be making this promise because I know I will not keep my word.

The conclusion I have come to is that I need a project. A project with a deadline. Once I have that and I am excited about it I am sure activity will again commence.