Going Back Again…

…and again.

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Have you ever made a photograph that you just weren’t sure about? Not sure if it was good enough to keep, good enough to share, should it simply be deleted?

This is one of those photos.

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green plant in flowing water

Time and again I go through my archives, looking for both good photos I’ve long since forgotten, and photos that should have been deleted long ago.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m brutal when it comes to my photos and whether they stay or go. My last stroll through my archives was no exception, the carnage was massive. Several hundred image files got the axe.

Yes I know, I’ve heard all the arguments, “storage is cheap,” and “who knows what image editing technology might be coming,” blah, blah, blah.

As far as I’m concerned, if I look at an image and know for a fact it will never see the light of day, never be printed, never be shared on my Facebook page, or be uploaded to me website, it has no business taking up space on my hard drive. A crap photo is a crap photo.

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But back to the above image.

For some reason I can’t bring my self to delete it, and until now I’ve never shared it. There’s just something about it that has saved it many times from being unceremoniously slapped with the delete key.

Am I missing something? Should the executioner’s axe claim another victim?

32 thoughts on “Indecision.

  1. Sometimes I think a mediocre photo can sit there like a “note to self”, cause there’s something in it you’re interested in, want to keep investigating. Maybe you didn’t quite get what you were looking for, but seeing it reminds you of the idea, and the idea keeps unfolding in the back of your mind…. Or at least that’s my excuse for not cleaning out and organizing the thousands of lousy shots on my hard drive…. 🙂

    1. Good idea. The strange thing with this photos, unlike other photos I’m “on the fence” about, something has kept me from either deleting it outright, or sharing it on my Facebook page. Usually, if I’m not sure about a pic, I’ll post it to FB to see what kind of response it gets. More than a few that were close to getting the boot have been saved this way. Sometimes I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response they’ve gotten.

      But this one, this one is a big question mark. If it’s possible for a photo to have a life of its own, this one does, and it’s been tenaciously holding on to it.

      Honestly, even if it were to receive 100% negative feedback in this post I’m not sure I could bring myself to get rid of it.

      1. Well, how interesting then, that it has this hold on you.
        I think there is something very compelling about the sharp crisp green against the monochromatic swoosh of water and the dollops of orange in the background.
        Clearly there is something there, calling to you.

        1. Interesting indeed. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds something about this photo they like. Unlike you and everyone else though, I just haven’t been smart to know what that “something” is.

  2. Don’t delete it! I think the picture was calling on you to share it and see what others see in it (and perhaps what some part of you sees): I see my Jim in his stalwart greens, never broken or bent by whatever chaos swept around him. We had an ongoing family joke for whenever people were surprised to find themselves at a particular point–“How did it get to be supper time?” or “How did my baby get so big?” His answer was always, with a grin, “The inexorable march of time?” I see that in your picture, too: someone still there for us as time and life sweeps on for the rest of us.

  3. I have been thinking about purging my photographs that are mounting in huge numbers. Your point is well conceived and a necessary exercise. Each step of our maturation gives us new layers to see others’ and our own work. Self-editing is a terribly difficult task, but one that is critically important. The above image has a certain quality that captures opposites. It’s for you to decide if it measures up to similar images that you have produced. Maybe the concept is one that needs to be explored further: the juxtaposition of the fleeting and the stationary.

    1. Excellent ideas Sally. What has me somewhat confused is the ease with which I can normally kill off images. I’m usually quick and without remorse when it comes to self editing. I’m not reckless about it though. This image obviously speaks to me in a way I’ve yet to understand, which has kept it safe. I do like your thoughts on fleeting vs stationary, I’ll certainly be putting more thought into that. Thanks!

    1. That is a lovely interpretation. I’m so glad I have all of you, my fans and subscribers! I knew there was a reason this photo has been spared. I’m glad so many of you have given it a voice.

  4. I know this feeling very well, it happens to me quite often. I usually keep it and look at it a little later. Most of the time I know whether to keep or delete. Or I put it on the blog and hope for reactions – positive or negative 😉
    I like this photo by the way.

    1. Thank you for the input. Yes, that is exactly how I feel. Usually a photo I’m not sure about will end up on my Facebook page in order to get some feedback. Sometimes I’ll know a photo is pretty good, yet I’m not sure if it’s good enough for my website. This is where my fan page, and to a certain degree my blog, come in. This photo is different. I’ve never, until now, been compelled to share it, yet I was never able to bring myself to delete it either. So far the reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive, so at least in the eyes of my fans and subscribers I was right not to have deleted it.

    1. It’s hard to get past the emotional attachment isn’t it? I often ask myself, “is it really good, or am I just caught up in the emotion of capturing it?”

  5. No question, Jeff. If you have to debate keeping or deleting, keep it. Always. It’s a capture of a well-considered moment in time, and you devoted serious thought to its inclusion in your treasure chest. It’s a beauty, and I’m glad that you chose to share it. Please elevate its status in your archives–it’s a worthy addition.

    1. Thanks Gary. If there is any internal debate I always ere on the side of caution and keep a photo. It’s the ones that I “know” aren’t ever going anywhere that quake in fear for their lives 🙂

  6. A very nice picture and am glad you decided not to dispose of it. Not always easy deciding which to keep and which to get rid of. Reminds me that I should do some housekeeping myself.

  7. Dont you dare deleting it!!!! It is fabulous. I’ve enjoyed reading your lament – I am similar in that respect. I hate the mention of a facebook however. I wish someone would ban that sight.

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