Big cleaning, or is it worth keeping old photos

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Big cleaning, or is it worth keeping old photos

Each of us, to one degree or another, has an inherent irrational attachment to old things, and we get rid of them with great difficulty. It doesn't matter if these things relate to the virtual world or to the material. Each time a voice in my head suggests that, perhaps, this or that object may be useful to us in the future. This is why a box of assorted ancient cables under a computer desk is not uncommon. Well, or our sentimentality speaks in us, preventing us from throwing away a postcard from someone dear or second-hand clothes, reminiscent of pleasant moments in life. And surely, many still have saved passages of old games on their old hard drive …

In general, a rare person can boast of absolute practicality with regard to their real and virtual 'baggage'. We probably won't talk today about how to thin out five dozen T-shirts in the closet. It will be about a more philosophical problem – how to get rid of what no longer brings us joy. Namely – about thousands and thousands of old digital photographs that we have long forgotten about.

Why do we take pictures?

Parsing a photo archive is, in fact, not just cleaning, not just an everyday process. This is something like a ritual, no matter how pathetic it sounds. And inevitably, this ritual makes you think.

Remember the times when you could view old photos on your own or with friends, and it was really fun to laugh at how stupid we looked at a birthday party or on a country trip? What now? People don't refer to old photographs that often, do they? Well, maybe a Facebook 'memory' pops up that you had for dinner five years ago.

The reason is that nowadays people take pictures for different purposes. Previously, we took pictures to preserve the memory of certain events, to give happy memories a more tangible form so that we can return them in the future. We did it for our own pleasure. Now we are taking photographs so that others can see us and the events happening to us. And to impress them, regardless of how much we like these people and whether we know them at all. We take pictures and count the likes received. This is how each photograph fulfills its purpose and disappears into oblivion. It seems that we are taking more than ever many pictures, but the less the value of each of them in our time.

Big cleaning: dismantling the photo archive

Looking through old photos is like going back to the good old days. This is how memories come to life – people, events, places where we have been. However, this always takes a lot of time. Indeed, since the beginning of the 2000s, when these newfangled digital cameras appeared in our hands, a lot of time has passed, measured in huge numbers of images.
It is logical to start cleaning your archive with the oldest snapshots. It's funny how nightmarish they look now and how cool they seemed then, in all their 1.3 megapixel splendor. However, these photographs of those times are valuable not for their real quality, but for their sentimental irrevocability. So it’s not surprising if you don’t raise your hand at this canned food warehouse with happy memories. Sort them by album if you haven't already. And those pictures that do not evoke memories are a direct road to the basket.

Big cleaning, or is it worth keeping old photos

Photo of 2003 from the author's archive

Surprisingly, the decision to keep a photo or to delete it often has to do with the people who got it. Not with the place, not with the event, and not even with how cool we ourselves look in the frame. The most important thing is the people and the memories that are associated with them. Those who were important to us and to a certain extent shaped us as a person. It may happen that the connection with someone has long been lost, and then the analysis of the archive may prompt the restoration of contact. And it happens that we deliberately erase someone from our life, and deleting the photos in which these people remained and which, due to a misunderstanding, are still stored in the archive, gives a strange satisfaction. It is like crossing completed tasks off your to-do list.

Big cleaning, or is it worth keeping old photos

But let's turn to the more practical side of the issue. Deleting hundreds of photos and videos (including tons of replays) is a great way to free up space. Many free gigabytes for much more important and needed files. And a reason to organize the really important photos so that they can be found easier at any time.

Conclusion: the true value of photos

We live in a time when taking photographs – and storing them as much as we want – is easier than ever. But that doesn't mean it makes sense to keep everything we've ever filmed. No, don't think badly, creating a backup for a photo archive is good and right, and thanks to all existing cloud services for how fast and convenient this process has become. This text is just a private opinion, and also a reason to look into a folder with photos that you may not have touched for many years. You may have your own ideas of what to remove and what to keep. But you definitely don't need a half dozen identical pictures of that same sunset over the lake. One thing is enough – the best. We already have a limited amount of mental strength to waste. By deleting photos that don't elicit an emotional response from you, you can appreciate the ones that remain a lot more.

What do you do with your photos, dear readers? Are you lovingly putting 'Nature', 'Village' and 'Petya, 2 years old' into the appropriate daddies or dumping them together in the hope of someday making out? Are you deleting duplicate pictures or sorry? And in general, what is a photo archive for you – a museum dedicated to your talent as a photographer, with a strict selection of exhibits, a dump or a repository of emotions, like the author of the article? Share in the comments!

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