The Ultimate Kill the Clutter Challenge – One Month to Process or Delete My Digital Image Backlog

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Announcements, Food For Thought | 15 Comments

When Sam first told me about her self-imposed deadline of June 30, 2014 to have all of her image backlog either processed or deleted I was shocked. She has so many great images just waiting for processing (many of them multiple image stitches or HDR sequences) how could she dare even think about deleting all that great work? It deserves to be seen! She is destroying art – how can she?

But I totally understand her need to kill the clutter so she can move on with creating new work. The problem arose because both Sam and I have precious little time for processing our image files in our backlog because other aspects of our photo business have higher priority. It’s weird, but as photography instructors, our own creative work most often gets the least priority. But because we are headed off on a creative sabbatical this year it would be great to start off our personal journey with absolutely no backlog from the past. In fact, I think it is mandatory that we start off our artistic journey with no baggage! And so… with a big, big dose of courage garnered from all the support that oopoomoo readers have given Sam, I am going to make the same resolution to have my image backlog processed or deleted by June 30, 2014.

How big of a job is it? I have 199 folders (each one representing a shooting day) to sort, edit, process and mostly delete from my hard drive. Some folders go back to 2005!!! It’s hard to think of letting go of many, many hours of shooting but really out of all those folders how many great images are there? Even if I only keep 10%, I should be able to get it all done (he tells himself hopefully)… so here it goes….

I am starting off by processing my folders of images from the Nordegg Mine (Brazeau Collieries) in advance of our Coal Mines and Cantons in the Canadian Rockies; an HDR Workshop starting this Thursday (we still have a spot or two available if anyone has time off this weekend – we have no plans to run this next year). The photos below were from a September 21, 2011 when we spent a full 8 hours at the mine.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

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©Darwin Wiggett

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©Darwin Wiggett

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©Darwin Wiggett

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©Darwin Wiggett

 

About the Author

I am a Canadian landscape and outdoor photographer who loves long hikes in the woods, yummy food, hairy dogs, good company and a good guitar jam.

15 Comments

  1. Donnie
    May 27, 2014

    Nice set of images! That is my kinda of place. Would love to go there some day. Good luck with your de-clutter program. I am going to blame my day job for my similar dilemma. My solution is a bit less radical: Park the full hard drives out of site in a secure place. Out of sight, out of mind waiting for a rainy day.

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      May 27, 2014

      Nah, can’t just pack away hard drives, we are also down-sizing our possessions and want a lean, mean, clean machine! So a hard drive in a closet won’t work especially because we won’t have a closet because we are renting our house out for a year!

  2. Stephen DesRoches
    May 27, 2014

    That’s only about 7 folders per day… every day. Piece of cake!

    I’m tempted to play along, but who am I kidding… I’m not willing to delete. I will however try to organize, sort, tag and categorize the mess I have allowed to build up before Jun 30th.

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      May 27, 2014

      Stephen, all large journey’s start with small steps ;-)

      We are just starting our journey with a run!

    • Samantha Chrysanthou
      May 27, 2014

      Yay! Play along!

      Sorting and categorizing is good…it’s an active, positive step. I’m a chronic list maker myself. I know things are bad when I have a master list for my lists.

  3. Jane Chesebrough
    May 27, 2014

    I still have Sam’s blog on this topic because I have been thinking about this. I had an art teacher once who would have quarterlyly bonfires into which her paintings would go. It released the attachment to certain works and freed her to create newer maybe more successful work.I have done it myself but truthfully there wasn’t much quality to get rid of,but it did give me more room for newer ideas and creations. I regularly cull my photos and see them differently every time I attempt this and can let go of a few more.You are both brave and are sure to have an amazing year ahead of you filling up the empty spots. Good luck and have fun with this.

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      May 27, 2014

      Yes the real reasons is that release of attachment so we can move on with a new creative path. A lot of the old image are just the same old, same old!

    • Anil Sud
      May 27, 2014

      Now there’s a courageous idea for a workshop, Darwin.

      Everyone shoots, processes, and gets critiqued on their workshop images. At the end of the week, no one leaves before turning in their hard drives to be erased.

      It certainly would reinforce the concept that we need to be in continual evolution to grow as pure and free artists and forget about the past “keepers” (as they say, ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’).

      Might be hard to find enough attendees to sign up, though!

  4. Celso Bressan
    May 27, 2014

    Darwin:

    I am going through the same process of cleaning things but my approach is a bit different: my deadline is next week but I would not be able to go through, I will simply lock it on a hard drive and isolate it from the pack.
    There is no need for deleting everything; just forget it somewhere. Maybe, in the future, they will be needed. If not – well – then it would be forgotten anyway.

    Keep up with your great work!

    Bressan

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      May 27, 2014

      I can’t forget about them… I have to process and delete otherwise there is mental clutter AND closet clutter ;-)

  5. Sid
    May 27, 2014

    Hi Darwin! It’s a darn good thing I have several of your books then, because I’ll continue to admire my favourite Wiggett images whenever the urge strikes. You’ll delete your unprocessed images and I’ll keep your books on my bookshelf. :D

    Good luck with the physical and mental housekeeping … only you will know if it’s right for you. I’m looking forward to the images you and Sam will make on your upcoming journey. I like the idea of refreshing our creative minds!

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      May 27, 2014

      Hi Sid,

      I am not deleting everything, I have a few weeks to get to my fav unprocessed images!

  6. Anil Sud
    May 27, 2014

    I admire both of you for starting your sabbatical with a clean slate.

    I’ve often wondered if hanging on to the past, influences how I perceive and shoot into the future. (It does become one’s self-identity in defining who we are as artists). Should something happen that I lost every image I’ve ever captured (processed or otherwise) and had to start all over, would this be the catalyst and impetus to let go of “my style” and start seeing things in a different light…or would I just go on to apply ingrained templates on new subject matter…I suspect it would be a bit of both!

    Liberation or regret?

    It will be interesting to hear from you in 6 months or a year, what effect letting go of the baggage has had on your artistic direction, if any.

    Reply
  7. Darwin Wiggett
    May 28, 2014

    Interesting thoughts Anil. If we had to start over would we just repeat our formulas of the past, or really start fresh with new ideas? We let you know how things go as we progress.

    Reply
  8. Episode 84 »» Photography Backlog - Shutter Time With Sid & Mac
    June 8, 2014

    […] Darwin Wiggett »» Ultimate Kill the Clutter Challenge Post […]

    Reply

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