I admit it’s a bit radical.
Many of you are going to say I’ve tripped my shutter, overexposed my hand, am lost in the darkroom of life…but I HAVE to do it.
I’m going to commit to tackling the horrendous backlog of unprocessed raw files gathering digital dust on my computer hard drives. I’m going to work my can off for the next six weeks. And what I can’t get to by June 30, 2014 when we walk out the door to start our Artists in Residence program…well, I’m gonna DELETE those raw images. Permanently. As in forever. That’s right: bye bye baby!
I’m sure some readers are gagging up their breakfast cereal right now at the thought of throwing away their unprocessed files. Sure, it’s crazy. But it’s also going to be freeing. Why? Because I’m one of those control freaks who has to do the dishes sitting on the counter before I dirty a new set making dinner. I have to organize my desk before I can get down to work. And I CAN’T STAND the idea of going out to shoot with hundreds of images just waiting for me back home. Garrgh, the clutter! It drains my energies like a battery forgotten on a cold garage floor. It keeps me from being truly free and creative. So it’s time for a radical amputation.
I know some of you might be thinking, What is her problem? Just cherry pick the faves, and leave the rest for when you have a spare moment! But there is no free hour in the future. Running a photography business means a lot of time thinking not about photography but the business of photography. When I do have a spare moment, you won’t find me anywhere near a computer. For me, it’s killer clutter that keeps me from wanting to head out to make new images (that in turn will just sit on my computer for years. Yech!)
There’s also the little fact that I need my images processed in order to use them in our educational eBooks, talks and workshops…but I digress.
Darwin and I have written a few times on the blog about getting rid of clutter in our lives. With disposable income it can be so easy to collect extra things. We think we need that extra kitchen gadget or motorized toy, but despite retailer promises, our lives are not easier or happier. We just end up with more junk. For me, unprocessed images sitting on my ‘to do’ list for years feels like piles of paper on my desk that I have to get to before I can clock out for the day. Why not just set a firm deadline to achieve a goal and toss the remainders? Why not??
My goal may not seem so ‘out there’ to minimalists. These are people who strip away all the extras in their lives, freeing themselves from the tyranny of stuff which allows them to focus their energies into more productive channels. I first heard of minimalism through a CBC radio interview with Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus the authors of Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life. Compared to how they’ve downsized their lives, what I’m planning to do is piddly!
There’s also been a resurgence in the concept of eudaimonia which is the pursuit or experience of self-actualization, excellence or meaning as opposed to what most of us do to be happy which is gleefully seek hedonia (the pursuit or experience of pleasure, comfort and enjoyment). The little bit I’ve heard about these concepts so far, from a nod in the pop psyche book on learning music, Guitar Zero, to the abstract for Veronika Huta’s article on the subject (my definitions are from her summary — have to see if I can get my hand on the book itself) suggest I’m on the right path to put off pleasure-seeking photography right now in favour of a virtuously clean hard drive.
So, I hope I’m up for the ultimate kill the clutter challenge. I have 89+ folders containing hundreds of unprocessed raw files and about six weeks to sort through them all. What I get to by June 30, I keep. What’s left is junked.
What do you think? Care to join me and set your own little ‘kill the clutter’ goal? Why not??