Someday, if I really get to feeling motivated, I'd like to write a book on being a photographer, and title it something like "Perils, Pitfalls, and Paranoia". We need as much to worry about as we can. And what brings me to this melancholic state? Simply, the arrival in my in-box of yet another in that endless stream of articles reminding me that my future, my legacy, my very birthright -- all of it -- is doomed to meaningless and un-readable twaddle in the (probably) not too distant future. Unless I make a lot of prints between then and now.
Well, um, thanks for the heads-up.
So, am I the only one who doesn't fully buy in to the panic? I mean, sure, given a source of light and a splash of silver nitrate and a negative is theoretically printable until hell freezes over. But truth be told, I have lost or damaged my share of negatives in the past, too, and that makes them as un-recoverable as the data on a floppy disk. Oh, and no back-up; the vast majority of my negatives remain scandalously un-printed, apart from their contact sheets.
I do confess to a petit goût of paranoia, though: my photos, since I began shooting exclusively digital, are backed-up on external harddrives, where also reside all the photos formerly living on my 100-year DVDs. I tend not to lose a lot of sleep over it. But data-redundancy is not really the point, as far as I can tell; my concerns are more immediate.The advent of the interwebs, and social media in particular, has made creating and sharing images more relevant, more intimate, and more exciting than ever before. This is largely what drives me. I've argued here before that for me the joy lies in the creative process, and not entirely in the resulting artifact. I'll take it, make it, post it, share it, write about it ... and then move on to the next one. That, and strong coffee, are what get me up and out of bed.
If the fates deem I should live long enough to see the next big advancement in storage media (shoot, that could be next week) then I'll diligently transfer my files accordingly. I swear. For posterity, sure, but for myself, too. Re-discovering an old image I made years ago with fresh new insight is supremely satisfying.
And if the fates don't deem? Then to hell with them. I have great fun with photography in the here and in the now.
And that's the only place I know.