The Curse of Digital Photography

Will Goodlet

The Curse of Digital Photography

I've been sharing images online for a while now mainly because I don't really have anywhere else to put them all! Only four walls and a digital camera make for the worst combination.

Clearly, I have been spoiled by the freedom of digital. Was digital photography invented merely so that I could take more photographs? What happened to better photographs?

Don't get me wrong, I love the freedoms that modern cameras offer. For most of the first thirty years of my life, I lived in a creatively barren world where I couldn't afford to take more than 36 shots when I went on holiday. I still have some of those shots and 99% are crap 😃

Then digital came along and now I take thousands upon thousands. 99% are still crap - but the difference is that they aren't sitting in a shoe box in a cupboard, now I am drowning in them. They are spilling over the edges of my 8 hard drives. The sheer guilt I feel about the fact that I haven't yet looked at or edited shots from 4 years ago is bringing me down.

Maybe I should just burn them all (metaphorically)? Cut and run, start with a blank slate? It's seriously tempting. There's nothing like a clean Lightroom catalogue for possibilities. I know, I keep making them!

So I have to think about this a little. Is photography the drug that is destroying my life? Or is it the drug that gives it meaning?

Either way, I think the time has come to change my approach.

I started out with the thought 'why not take the shot, it's free, after all'. But I've learned that it isn't free. There is a price to pay. All those shots get in the way of making better choices.

I've decided that the number of images and the range of subjects I photograph are no substitute for thinking critically about what I am doing.

Instead of waiting until the images are in the bag, sitting in lightroom, and deciding to axe them there, I have decided to axe them before they are even made.

Every time I raise my camera now, my mind trot's out a new thought. 'Is this an image I am willing to keep?'. It's a heavy decision but 99% of the time the answer is 'No'.