Categories
Events and Life Photography

Accumulating memories in large photo libraries

Jamie Rubin wrote a thought-provoking post on his blog about his accumulated library of photographs, and his thoughts about what to do with it.

The problem is that I am not organized about my photos the way I am in other parts of my life. I’ve made reluctant attempts at organization now and then, but my heart was never in it. I’ve had all kinds of great ideas for photo taxonomies that would allow me to put my finger on a photo within seconds. These ideas never pan out. I just don’t have the interest. And yet the photos accrue.

Jamie Rubin

I commented on the post, and then thought I’d share my thoughts here too.


I have around 100k images in my Flickr library (this is probably my most complete, and organised library outside my various backups). I sometimes wonder if accumulating such a huge library will be problematic for my family when I eventually shuffle off into the Great Darkroom in the Sky.

On balance, though, I’d much rather preserve these memories, than start stripping them away because they seem too voluminous. I’m pretty determined to document our lives, and our memories for future generations. I wrote a bit about this in this post, so I won’t elaborate much here.

When I look at what I have from my childhood, and from previous generations, I see moments now and then, certainly not complete pictures of what those times were like. I rely on photos to remember my past because my memory can be pretty spotty.

When it comes to my growing library of photos, I’m working on the assumption that image recognition technology will only improve over time, and our kids will be able to use it to find the stuff that matters to them. If I look at how good Google Photos is now when it comes to recognising subject matter in photos, and even filtering photos, I’m less and less concerned about the size of my library.

I think Jamie make a great point about being mindful of the moment we’re in, and not immediately distracting ourselves from it by taking a photograph of the scene. We can’t spend all our lives looking through a viewfinder.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Julie Johnson

By Paul

Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.