Photographic Purgery

I’ve just been purging — that is, the culling of no-longer-desirable photographic images from my gallery, not the more serious meaning of the word.

This morning when looking through my gallery, I saw some older images of mine, and started to think about culling them.

It can be quite difficult to look back on old images, as first and foremost, some of them are really quite mediocre and feature subjects and lighting conditions that wouldn’t elicit even the slightest consideration nowadays; and secondly, many of them were taken during a time when I was trying to re-discover myself.

Many of those earlier images remind me of the times, people and places I experienced at those times, but their relevance at this stage of my photographic and life journey has diminished almost to the point of complete irrelevance.

Then there’s the issue of my perfectionism and the high standards I set for myself.  My choices of subject, lighting and image quality these days is worlds apart from the choices I made in my early days of DSLR photography; and that’s to be expected as one develops one’s skills and finds what one really likes, photographically.

Many of those images are simply not of a standard by which I’d want to be judged, or what I’d want others to stumble upon or seek out.  They’re not a part of who and where I am today as a person and as a photographer.

While I’ve culled a few images, I’ve no doubt there are many more that can be bit-bucketed.  I’ve only scratched the surface, and I’ll undoubtedly send quite a few more packing in the days or weeks to come.

It’s a somewhat therapeutic experience to look back on old, mediocre images and purge them.  Of course, I have the original images I captured; but I cannot see them ever appearing in my online gallery again.  They’ll remain in my archives as a reminder of my photographic and self journey, but the rest of the world doesn’t need to see them.

I’d encourage any photographer with an online gallery to look back at that early, ordinary (or even dreadful) stuff and decide whether it’s representative of one’s current photographic or life status, and give consideration to doing some spring cleaning, which is healthy for both the mind and the photographic gallery.

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