I’ve always struggled with my photo library. I started keeping track of all the photos I’ve taken back in 2007, when my parents bought a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W35 on our trip to Shanghai, copying pictures I took to an external hard drive I owned. Later on when I bought my own Nikon D80 I introduced some formality in my photo-keeping, moving those loose photos to F-Spot on Linux; much later, after I moved to a MacBook Pro for most of my computing, I transported my library to iPhoto.
One of the annoying bits of using Photos (née iPhoto) over the years is not having enough space for my library that I’d had to keep all of it on an external disk. Being on an external drive meant that importing photos from my D80’s SD card into my library was always fraught with some peril: I always feared somewhat irrationally that I could accidentally corrupt images in transit to my disk, if I so much as breathed on the USB cable connecting it to my laptop.
Admittedly, I could spend a bit on storage on my iCloud and keep everything in the cloud, but I decided instead to switch to and pay for Adobe Lightroom – I’ve been meaning to get better at editing my photos, and would like something more robust than what Photos has to offer.
In the process of getting my entire library – all 200 GB of it – uploaded to Adobe’s Creative Cloud and therefore usable on Lightroom, I’ve been reviewing some past photos I’ve taken, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find some gems in there.
For one, I’d totally forgot that there was a brief time I shot in film; I have several rolls developed and scanned into my library, and some of the photos are superb. It’s gotten me interested again in trying to do street photography on film. A few years ago I had acquired a Nikon EM that was lying around my aunt’s house. It was a pretty good basic film SLR, albeit being aperture-priority only with no manual shutter speed controls, and I’ve had a fair bit of success in terms of the shots I’ve taken on it. I left the Nikon EM back in Manila though, so I’ve decided to buy a Nikon FE as my film SLR here – it’s fairly inexpensive to get, and it’s also fairly well-regarded and it should work well with my lenses.
Anyway, I’ve been posting most of my library finds on my Instagram, seeing as I probably won’t be able to go out to take photos any time soon.
Some of the gems in my library were photos I didn’t feel happy posting because I felt too critical of them at the time: like they were somehow lacking in composition, or that they had some other real or imagined flaw. I think having another look at these photos years after made me see them in a different light – I saw what they could be, instead of what they are.
And then there were some photos that were more personal: photos of more private moments of my life I’ve captured that I am loathe to post – moments with family and friends. Maybe one of these days I’ll have the courage to share them with the world; not yet.
Looking back at my old photos has honestly gotten me excited for the day when I can shoot again, to document, to capture the “decisive moments” that I see through the lens. Not yet, not yet – but maybe soon.