I recently sat down at my laptop with the sole purpose of sorting through all the pictures I have saved, and deciding which ones needed to be permanently deleted, which ones could stay and which ones should probably be burned to avoid being seen by any other poor soul.
It took nearly an hour to group them into folders, make sure there were no doubles, and choose what photos actually had meaning and which were just stealing storage.
I became quite ruthless with my desire to be rid of pictures of cloud formations, cats and my own ridiculous and downright ugly, selfies and mirror shots. By the time I clicked the permanently delete button in the recycle bin, an entire 2GB of images only had been deemed unnecessary.
2GB. Of pictures. Pictures that, I’m not going to lie, were predominantly of myself making silly faces and sneak shots of my boyfriend.
I could almost feel my computer sighing peacefully, and stretching it’s virtual arms out into the previously cramped space.
I kinda urge anyone reading this to free up their computers from the bonds of off-centre, blurry, or too bright pictures that you’ll think you need one day but ultimately really, truly don’t. You should also delete all those lip pouting self shots that you wouldn’t show your nana. Not even your own laptop wants to see those.
It actually feels pretty good. It’s like clearing out under your bed or inside your wardrobe, except that you don’t get the chance to dump a new lot of unread mail, chip packets and ugly sweaters immediately into the gaps.
The next step in my clean-up was to go ahead and delete just over a hundred shots from my Facebook albums. I sat down and looked at every picture one -by-one (No, I didn’t have anything else to do that night, thanks for inquiring) and asked myself at each shot, “Is this really important to post?” I also of course, weighed up the amount of likes / comments on each picture because hey, what if someone I want to impress looks at my picture and sees ’10 likes’? They’ll assume I must have at least one friend and am therefore not crazy. Whereas thirty pictures in a row with tumble weeds blowing across the comment boxes are less likely to make me look as though I’m sane and happy. Because when I thought about it, the happiest people or the busiest / most successful people I personally know, don’t often spend a lot of time online. They also don’t post a hundred photos of the same thing in slight variations. And it’s all because they’re outside being happy and busy, and not inside, at their computers, uploading the only photos they have trying to prove they did once go outside and see other people. Which I sometimes did.
I deleted a heck load (yes, that’s a real form of measurement) of pictures that nobody, not even me, really cared to see. I found after I did this, that when I did happen to browse facebook, I’d come across a picture of somebodies cupcake or a picture of the rain outside their window and I’d realise how pointless these shots are. The age old question of why do people upload pictures of their food comes into play here – are they just really proud? These sorts of pictures clog up our pages, phones, computers and make us form unnecessary attachments to that Facebook album titled “food”, that doesn’t actually hold any real meaning. Unless you made an entire Tuscan feast, decorated the dining room like a castle, and had the Queen over for tea.
The next thing I found, was, with my finger poised over the upload picture ready to post a shot of my mum’s cat, that I absolutely did not need to show anyone on my friend’s list this picture. Now, say the cat had been walking on stilts or wearing a fake moustache…then hell yes, I’m going to show everyone I know how badass my cat is! Sitting down, peering boredly into the lens however? No.
Further more I realised that I can take photos just because I want to keep the memory, not because I want a ‘like’ on Facebook or to show my friends I did this or that. It’s brilliant. I’ve restored that specialness of private photo albums to my own collection.
Only the photos that I know my friends would want to see now pass the test: shots taken with mates, photos from their birthday parties I took, the time someone dressed up, the day we hiked to the top of that mountain, or the time we did something hilarious.. they’re good to go.
Anything that I either wouldn’t want my mother to see, anything I just want a ‘like’ on, special moments between my boyfriend and I, or anything that I wouldn’t care if someone else uploaded, all stay on the camera.