I've lost old photos

Here you can talk about anything (that isn't related to the other forums).

Moderator: Crew

Post Reply
User avatar
eMTe
Cyberflaneur
Posts: 6915
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 23:08
Location: Cracow

I've lost old photos

Post by eMTe » Thu Jun 14, 2018 0:43

Topic's title would suggest that somebody stole my smartphone or my laptop drowned in a bathtub as it is a frequent problem in modern times, but it is not.

During recent (this winter) move to new flat I've lost old (pre-digital) photos from my childhood and also photos of my parents and grandmother.

The thing is, I've been keeping all these photos in drawers, loose, I knew they are there, but never really cared to sort them chronologically or thematically and put them into albums. They were always there. I must have put them in some sort of plastic bag (there were several hundreds of them) and probably threw them into the container together with old shoes or something.

Someone would say nothing happened, but it's not that easy, psychologically. I still have my parents' wedding album left, one album my parents kept with photos from my childhood (up to, say, when I was 12 years old) and a dozen of random photos from early 00ies or late 90ies. Basically everything from 1992 to 2004 PLUS old photos of my parents and grandmother is now gone. It's still part of my memory and - big word - heritage.

I'm trying to cope with the loss in various ways.

1. Photos are not important, memories are. Funny thing is, I never cared for them, unless I lost them. It's this Freudian thing, when you discover that pursuing is more fascinating than having. So why care for a photo of your granma (I have none now) if you have a memory of her.

2. Photos are only objects. Sure, they are depictions of people you knew, but - ultimately - they are objects, like chairs or spoons. So losing photos is no more or less important than losing an everyday tool, like if your favourite cup is broken.

3. Everything will be gone sooner or later. I will die, our Universe will die. Keeping things (including old photos) is as much important as breathing. Or - sorry to say this - defecating. It just happens and everything from photos to memories will turn to dust anyway, so why not getting over it and keep living. It's just particles switching positions.

Enough of the philosophy, now positive things.

This loss might actually become a good turn in my life. I have developed, with time, an obsessive compulsive syndrome of "capturing the moment". I begun to make photos of pretty much everything from unimportant family events to empty streets in Italy and store those photos. Ugly, blatant photos. No, this is not something rare, probably millions of people have the syndrome, including some of you recording gameplay videos (future generations will see me playing Amiga game, wow). So, this maniacal drive for capturing moments has become sort of a burden. Instead of living the life I started collecting visual (this is important - it was very one-sided) representations of it.

I had a first glimpse of post-loss life at Pixel Heaven 2018. Normally, I would maniacally photograph and record every interesting bit of the event. Now, when my granma is visually gone I've lost the continuity and integrity, so why keeping visuals of everything else? Photos from mountain hikes, world trips, meetings with family and friends, parties - they are less important.

So I made only 14 photographs instead of 1000+ I would normally do. Sort like I had an epiphany.

Have I just reported that I had discovered a new disorder I hadnt knew I had (boy, I do have a couple) or there's something inherently human and deeply XXI-st century-ish in this confession?
"As you have noticed over the years, we are not angry people." (itebygur)

User avatar
eMTe
Cyberflaneur
Posts: 6915
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 23:08
Location: Cracow

Re: I've lost old photos

Post by eMTe » Mon Jun 18, 2018 23:19

I have largely reworked the loss in my mind (just like I reworked more significant [?] losses earlier) and came to some interesting (for myself) conclusions that might become inspiring or otherwise helpful for others in future.

1. While wondering what I really lost I started thinking what would I do if I was a skilled artist or paid somebody to recreate the photos I lost. After all, we're living in an age of technology, when you can easily photoshop yourself drinking malibu on an exotic island. One of the big studios is working on a movie which will star young Robert de Niro, only computer-generated. So it's getting easier and easier to recreate visuals. So I thought, if I was offered a technology that would recreate my grandma from my menories and put her in the situations I remember her from - would I accept the offer. No. It got to me that it is not the visual side I miss, but the items - physical photos, objects from the past, from the era when one had to buy camera roll, then carefully choose what to photograph, because rolls weren't that cheap, go to photo lab, pay for the service etc. I miss the tokens I was keeping in the dusty drawer, not the grandma. With incoming technology I could maybe recreate her not only in the situations and places I remember her, but also in others. But you can't cheat emotions - and those recreations would be totally fake and taken out of context. So it's better to say goodbye to these photos, forever. They are lost in an abyss of time and human civilisation.

2. I began wondering why I miss those photos so much. And it got to me that I miss them, because I am practically nobody. Think of people like Donald Trump or famous celebrities, actors, musicians. They don't collect photos of themselves, because photos, movies, recordings of them come in zillions, worldwide. What's there to collect if your person is represented, shared and talked about every day, by everybody. Me, being completely insignificant, had only this couple dozens of photos of younger myself and I valued them greatly. My parents and grandma were nobodies too. So, it tells much about my insignificance. The more insignificant you are, the more you value something that immortalizes you. In this case, photography.

I also googled the issue and it appears that I overestimated the uniqueness of my experience and my hypersensitivity (as usual) - I've read a lot of similar traumatic stories and even about people who needed to go to shrink, because they lost their whole photographic history in flood or fire (including mo's story here, as I understand that you lost not only photos and other memorabilia, but also home which burnt down?). Anyway, as always, it's good to be not alone with your experience and pondering how others lost as much or more gives positive (immoral, but biological) schadenfreude chills.

It also brought me back to my long-forgotten creator/consumer dualism thoughts. The more you consume the more you become obsessed with yourself, as you give nothing away to the world, and the more you create.. Well, to the contrary. That's why I thought that this experience can finally help me start writing properly, instead of trolling webforums.
:wink:

Well. that's all. I think I'm done on the subject and feel relieved. 8)
"As you have noticed over the years, we are not angry people." (itebygur)

Post Reply