Note: This post was intended for yesterday (Wednesday) but I got busy and forgot to post it. It’s still “midweek” isn’t it?
Guess what arrived at my house yesterday?
Not these books.
These books arrived at Allison’s house last week, and yes, this means she has passed the test of true friendship.
As in, “Could I arrange for delivery of 300 books to your house, and would you be willing to ship them around the world?”
but, I digress …
What I received yesterday, was two disks with all the electronic files for these books–It’s official then–I now own my own work.
This feels really, really good.
And since my work includes the title, Photo Freedom, I thought I’d post a midweek muse that could be called Photo Anxiety.
These are mostly-unfinished thoughts that have been lurking in my “draft folder” for several weeks …
There are too many scrapbookers not telling their story because they are sinking in an ocean of excess photos.
We tend to assign an immense amount of value to photos because in the past, they have been rare and therefore extremely valuable. In other words, 12,000 photos are not as valuable as twelve. Stop and think about that for a minute. If you had only twelve photos from your childhood, they would automatically (regardless of their quality) be valuable–they are all you have.
12, 000 photos are not individually valuable, until you assign value to a few of them.
Excess photos create an environment of anxiety.
Creativity requires full engagement. To connect to that most essential place inside of you where emotion and memory come together to find expression, you really can’t feel anxious or distracted or overwhelmed.
Anxiety does not allow full engagement. You can hardly take a deep breath when you feel anxious, let alone find the calm and focus to fully engage!
I believe the antidote to all this anxiety is (quite simply) action. We need to learn to take action, in small chunks of time with small groups of images. We need to develop the skill of selecting a relatively small percentage of our digital images and then we need to assign value to them–somehow make them different from the rest. Make them rare.
There seems to be an ongoing debate over the best and most efficient and safest way of protecting and preserving our excess collections of digital images. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that backing up and archiving are not important. I am saying that investing inordinate amounts of time, effort and money into the process is not necessary. Backing up and archiving excess photos is like treating a symptom (the pain) rather than finding a cure. I really believe this.
The source of our anxiety and symptomatic pain (for many) is the fact that we haven’t assigned meaningful value to enough of our photos. We haven’t told enough of our story to find that sense of peace and calm that we crave.
I get that our thousands of digital images represent our lives–even in it’s mundane-ness. I get that it is extremely cool that we have digital technology that affords us a collection of such images. I get that they are priceless. Ok, actually I don’t get that they are priceless. I think they have the potential to become priceless, but really outside of the context of personal perspective, they are just images. Some of them are beautiful and elicit wonderful feelings of emotion, but really, until we pair them with some kind of story, they will fail to find any lasting value beyond our lifetime. I know technology is constantly unveiling new ways of interacting with and appreciating photos and I know that my children and their children will embrace technology with far greater ease than I do, but they will not value my 12,000 photos–even if they are backed-up, archived, organized and tagged!
This could become a long, rambling and nonsensical essay if I keep going, but I feel so strongly that we understand that backing up and archiving isn’t going to solve the photo anxiety we feel. The anxiety we feel stems from our inability to take action that feels meaningful and it stems from our inability to fully engage and go to the place of authentic creativity with “some” of our images, so that we generate gratitude and energy sufficient to deal with the ongoing onslaught as we take more!
Is this making sense?
I’ve listened to several recent Paperclipping Roundtable episodes (which I so enjoy) and this topic has come up more than once. There is always a good discussion, but no one has come out and said, the cure to all of this anxiety is in fact, SCRAPBOOKING. If you are know you are telling your most important stories, the photo anxiety turns into photo freedom (really.)
If you are currently feeling a paralyzing anxiety, do the following, before Saturday night.
Sit down at your computer,
with a timer set to 15 minutes
and sign on your back, “Don’t bug me now!”
Scroll through images until you find
5 pictures that make you want to run next door
and borrow a cup of sugar, just so you can say,
“Oh and by the way, look at these great pictures I took …”
Scrapbook these pictures.
Don’t worry that you are behind.
Don’t worry about where these pages might go.
Just scrapbook these photos.
I know it’s hard to believe that scrapbooking five photos could make a difference if you are years “behind,” but if you forget about all the crazy expectations even once a week and just tell one story, you will have recorded 52 stories in one short year. Wow. I’ll venture a guess that 52 stories is far more stories than any previous generation in your family line has recorded.
If you an additional dose of healthy and liberating perspective on this subject, register for my FREE Start Here with Stacy class, I believe it will help.
btw, there are two great books you can read too.
They be available, here on my website, in just a few days!
and please, share your thoughts …