Today I sort of went through my crazy huge camera roll. I’ve arranged it so that the large versions are in the cloud for room, but I’m having trouble trusting that if I take them off my phone I will see them again.
One of my external hard drives died when I was on holiday vacation at the end of 2019/beginning 2020 – it literally would not turn on, and then while researching fruitlessly how to recover the data/fix it (it was still under warranty), which was a ridiculous idea, the pandemic hit and my “organized” life as I knew it turned upside down. Now I’m in the process of retrieving the data on it after 2 years – professionally this time! – and hope, in Jan/Feb 2022, to finally get all my data cleaned up and backed up properly.
While shooting digital photography is very cheap, it creates an overwhelming amount of work to sift through and figure out how to preserve. It’s the equivalent of fast fashion – buy buy buy and throw it in the closet till you can’t close the door anymore. My whole life has been in this mode in almost every aspect for over 10 years. Living like this makes me feel like I’m always swimming within a rip current. It’s very unsettling.
The pandemic workaround situation – working from home while taking care of 3 people plus myself in my case – has also created a kind of perpetual cycle where my feet don’t quite touch the ground ever. Lots of short jobs which never stop. But, they are physical ones, in other words – if too much stuff is filling up a place, you get more storage and/or throw things away. And you don’t have to worry about anything suddenly disappearing in an instant before you were finished making a decision about it – that is, most of the time. This is wearying but I can get my hands around it. Eventually.
Since I’m fairly well into middle age, I can recall a less harried time, even having spent my formative years in “fast” NYC. Computers are useful, but they also take us away mind-wise from the physical world, and the internet is not reflective of natural cycles and limitations. In short, it’s all very artificial. And it’s a great escape from the boring duties of planning and organizing, which, when we didn’t have such immersive toys, was worked better into seasonal routines so they didn’t feel SO onerous. To have time to do these kinds of uncomplicated, but necessary for sanity, chores was permitted, there was nothing that urgent at your fingertips that kept you occupied – for example, the latest news, texts and emails, and the big yuck, social media.
If you have your time all to yourself, and no responsibilities to any others, maybe you can use a bunch of your time to thoughtfully figure out what to do with a huge amount of digital photos, fuck around marketing them on various sites, and manage to keep on top of all that while continuing to thoughtfully create new work. Sure, if that is your business, that’s what you have to do. But if it’s not your business, what business do you have spending that kind of time at the expense of your peace of mind?
I feel like my artistic life is in slow mode again, actually confirming that feeling lately, like when my kids were very, very small. The pandemic has made it very clear that my main role right now is a family one, and to even TRY to attempt to drive in the fast lane which is dedication to a business/career is dumb and even perilous.
So I guess that in the interim, I’ll accept that I have to go slow again, fall away to walk in the quiet country lane, and savor the projects that grow in real world time. And keep that bustling, loud noise in cyberspace the hell away from my peace and quiet and dedication to solid things.
One more day of 2021, our artificial sense of time. THAT may be almost over, let’s pretend, but my life and its pace are not measured by modern time inventions.