Why do you keep photos..?

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Mar 24, 2011
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This is going to be a little heavy.


People seem to want their personal life recorded. That's why this hobby/profession exist. But why?

I just restored two nearly lost Lightroom archives from the past 5 years. My excitement to look through them was quickly dampened by a terrible emotion rushing back to me. I wasn't in a good place 2-3 years ago, but am now moving on. Suddenly I'm reminded of all the bad things. These were photos of happy moments; the parties, the events, friends, trips, etc. But reliving those moments also brought back the bad memories.

In general, the happiest moments of our lives are the present because it is where the sum of our experiences and wisdom will hopefully be. Thus, Today is the happiest we can possibly make ourselves in any given situation. Keeping only the good memories would be a lie. Keeping good and bad memories are pointless.

So beyond practical purposes...Why do people want to remember their past?


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Why buy a digital camera in that case? Just get by with a Nikon FE with no film loaded in it. You keep the experience of taking pictures, but without the burden of pointless archiving.

I am grateful for the pictures of my father who passed away a couple of years. Or when I see images of my son from five years ago thinking "wow, he got tall". Yes, some of the memories that are brought back by pictures are painful. But isn't that part of life as well?
 

LyndeeLoo

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because your past got you where you are today. Everything that happens to you in your life, both the good things and the bad things, mold you into the person you are.

Remembering these things and even having a few photos as reminders keeps us from forgetting life's lessons and the pictures also show us that even in the dark times there are still moments of hope.

I couldn't have said it better.
 
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But the reality is if I had to do it all again I wouldn't change a thing, not even the moments that ripped me apart because if I were to change them I wouldn't end up where I am now.


I dunno, that could just be rationalization. There's a thing or two I did, that I would have done my damndest to prevent, had I just been smart enough at the time.
 
Joined
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I keep photographs for many reasons. The first reason is for the clients. I never know when they will want to come back and order more pictures. The second reason is to have family memories. I firmly believe that, even if what you say about the present being the best moments is true, that you still need that past. Without that past, you lose yourself. That being said, I keep ALL family pictures I've taken of my wife/kids unless they are simply unusable. The third reason I keep pictures is for my own pleasure, to look at, to remember, to show off, and sometimes, to go back and see how I've improved, both photographically and in post processing. And teh final reason I keep pictures is for the Something thread! :tongue: You never know what's going to pop up next in there! :biggrin:
 
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I have asked myself this question many times...

Family and Friends photos for the obvious reasons.

All other photos.. I don't really know. I have often considered going in and thinning the herd to the top 3 or 4 of every shoot.

That would certainly free up tons of disk space.
 
Joined
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I have asked myself this question many times...

Family and Friends photos for the obvious reasons.

All other photos.. I don't really know. I have often considered going in and thinning the herd to the top 3 or 4 of every shoot.

That would certainly free up tons of disk space.

That brings up a whole new question: Why do I keep so many BAD pictures? :tongue: I keep telling myself I am going to go and delete tons of stuff I never use, but I haven't gotten to it yet... I think it's part of my resistance of moving into LR!
 
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Aside from photos of family and friends, I have more than 8 years of photos on my computer that record my attempts at artistry, and also events I've photographed for my dog club and my bike club.

From time to time I'm asked for photos I took for each club. It happens that today I'm selecting some photos I took of bicycle club activities last year and the previous year that can accompany a beginning-of-season article that will appear in a newspaper devoted to outdoor activities in upstate NY. With a cold spring rain falling today (earlier it had been wet snow) it's nice to look at some people enjoying themselves outdoors on their bicycles at a much warmer time that hopefully we'll see again this spring and summer.
 
Joined
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When I was younger, I had so many life-altering moments... some I regret, some I cherish. We were poor and couldn't afford a camera and film and none of my friends have cameras either. Just recently, I had a chance to talk to one of my childhood friends about the stuff we did back then, and he could NOT remember most of them! I guess I'm fortunate enough to have photographic memory that I still remember every bit of detail, but not everyone could. I realized that if I only had a camera back then, then maybe my friend will remember if I show him the pictures... but I don't. So those memories are gone forever and they only exist in my mind.

And that, is why I keep my photos. Those once in a lifetime moment can never be replicated.
 
Joined
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There is a lot of philosophy in this thread, but my reason to take pictures is much more mundane. My parents are back in Europe and too old now to travel across the ocean. So when my first child was on the way, I bought my first digital camera. Now 6 years later, I shoot other subjects, too, and went a bit overboard with gear. But the main purpose of my photos and website is still for my parents to see their grand-kids.
 
Joined
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Thus, Today is the happiest we can possibly make ourselves in any given situation.

Well, if that's true, I may as well commit suicide now and be done with it. :eek:

Old photos are fun, because I can show my boys things they were too young to remember or would never have seen otherwise, or because looking back at photos brings back memories. I take the good and bad memories together, for the most part. Seeing smiling faces of people who have passed away can make me smile--it brings back the sound of their voice and the things we did together. I also have very old photos of ancestors, which are fascinating to study.

Most of the photos I take are objects, not people, so I keep those for entirely different reasons. I enjoy the art of it.
 
Joined
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Well, if that's true, I may as well commit suicide now and be done with it. :eek:

By 'Today', I meant present day, whenever that is. Which also means the future is unpredictable. Don't worry, I've gone through the whole nihilistic thing, and it ended up nowhere. :tongue:
 
Joined
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Highland,NY
Honestly, I have saved 10's of thousands of pictures for no apparent reason at all. I take them, I look at them, I emailed them around to friends or post one or 2 on a forum somewhere, and never look at them again.

To me the real joy for me is being out in nature and taking them.

But then again, someday I just might need one of them, so the stockpile will continue.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
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Honestly, I have saved 10's of thousands of pictures for no apparent reason at all. I take them, I look at them, I emailed them around to friends or post one or 2 on a forum somewhere, and never look at them again.

To me the real joy for me is being out in nature and taking them.

But then again, someday I just might need one of them, so the stockpile will continue.


Can't remember where I read this, but it was recommended to sort through our bank of photos and kill 80-90% of them every year. The purpose is supposedly to keep a manageable size and improve our 'eye' on things. I can't bring myself to delete even 50% of things.


I can not understand why you would even ask this question ???
But to answer this puzzler.
Because I took them!!

I was wondering because remembering isn't always a good thing. I was curious what people's real motivations to keep them are, beyond simply, because we can. Mostly, I agree with JGI, it's to record once-in-a-lifetime moments and experiences. The question is why we feel the need for it, is it some form of godliness to remember everything? If the most meaningful events in life are the ones that happened to one's own self, then can/do we learn new things at each point of time in our lives whenever we remember these things?


When I was younger, I had so many life-altering moments... some I regret, some I cherish. We were poor and couldn't afford a camera and film and none of my friends have cameras either. Just recently, I had a chance to talk to one of my childhood friends about the stuff we did back then, and he could NOT remember most of them! I guess I'm fortunate enough to have photographic memory that I still remember every bit of detail, but not everyone could. I realized that if I only had a camera back then, then maybe my friend will remember if I show him the pictures... but I don't. So those memories are gone forever and they only exist in my mind.

And that, is why I keep my photos. Those once in a lifetime moment can never be replicated.

I find most of the time, the best moments in life are unpredictable and unplanned. But I guess that's why we now all have cameras on our phones.
 
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