My mother is in rehabilitation after heart surgery and the other day when I visited her, she asked me if I could update her picture frame with some new photos. She’s got bored of the 150 pictures she already have and I said I would bring some new ones on my next visit.
So I started looking. On my laptop I got 12273 photos of all sorts of thing, stored in the Aperture application. This is a collection that I use quite frequently for web work, articles, Facebook, Twitter etc. Some are very personal, but some are more abstract and works fine as illustrations for various writings. So I like to have them available. But this is the collection I scavenged through when I gave my mother the picture frame, so I had to look for other things. I dusted off my old – but still very useful video editing suite desktop. I connected a collection of disks and started looking for something interesting.
I used to have photography as part of my daily work back when I worked for a building developer and I swiftly ignored the folders with 16790 pictures – though there are some nice pictures there. I then had a look at some other private project that I did over the last decade, and found some quite interesting stuff. Though used only for a music video, I found some pictures that where really good and could be appreciated my mother. I’d totally forgot!
5632 pictures further down, I discovered some art projects stored as separate collections for Aperture. Some time-lapse and tilt-shift projects I did with a friend. Thousands of pictures – but they didn’t make much sense individually – or did they? It was some nice stills from the city where my mother grew up – she might enjoy having a look at what the city looks like today. 2553 more pictures done.
Then I opened the backup collection of what I have on my laptop. 24093 pictures. Everything is here. Old digitized negatives and lots of stuff I don’t need dragging around every day. Found some nice old family pictures here. This collection is course out of sync with the latest projects on my laptop – someday I might sync them…
Found some stock photo – around 9000 more or less. Not useful – I had my filter on «shot by yours truly»! Found a duplicate of some of the former work projects, but there where selected for use in a documentary. Best to keep them just in case.
Last night I had dinner with my daughter and asked if she has some nice pictures from here recent stay in California studying. She had a lot! I took a picture of her and realized I had my iPhone collection of everyday life, stored in the cloud and in iPhoto – well, I thought!
But I had 706 pictures on my phone – and 478 on Photostream on my laptop, 562 on Photostream in iPhoto, and 814 older photos stored in iPhoto – should most of these numbers bee the same? Why out of sync? Could I loose some? What will happen when I cross the threshold of 1000 pictures on Photostream and the «system» will start deleting things I haven’t moved to an album? I need to spend some time and start saving what’s worth saving. But I did find some more pictures for the MAMA-collection.
So there we go: 62566 pictures! Some handled by different applications, some just stored as JPEG, TIFF, RAW, PSD and PNG files. Mostly in high-quality – probably bigger than I ever will need, but you never know when you need that particular part of something (I recently used a cows eye to illustrate a invitation).
So this is my life at home. I bet a lot of you have it the same way. These challenges are also very true in our business lives as well. How many versions exist of that document? On how many disks? Think of all the cloud services for file storage and sharing – part of their strategy is to store the same data in many places. No wonder the need for storage is exploding.
I am not a disorganized person – I try my best to organize my data in a good way. But my old data items can soon become hard to find – and even lost if I don’t think of a strategy soon. I would be nice to have everything sorted and stored safe. This product/service/solution doesn’t exist. Yet. But I hope some smart people will figure out how to safely store my pictures and make them available for the editing app of my choice, without me ever loosing them. Letting me inherit them to my daughter when I’m out of power myself – all without handing over the right of use to any corporation. And not storing my stuff where NSA and others agencies have access to my naked baby pictures!
Location, location, location! It’s not only important where you live, it’s important where you store your private data as well.
Have a nice summer – and take a lot of pictures!