Sep 10, 2010

Clean Desk Mission: Week 7

Back in the day, photos (and their negatives) were purely physical things.  You had to buy film, use the entire roll, then get the pictures developed, sorted out and stored in albums (keepers) or boxes (rejects and duplicates.)  The ratio of good shots to "meh" shots has always been somewhere around 1:10 (maybe that's just my photography skills) but I have boxes of "also-ran" images to testify as to this phenomenon - I have no idea why we I keep blurry, off-center and just plain bad pictures, but we I did - and do.

In the digital era, the entire photo process is now vastly different.  Bad shots can be instantly retaken, or enhanced, cropped, focused and otherwise electronically corrected.  No more developing an entire roll of film to get a few good pictures - now we cherry pick those that we want or need an actual printed photograph, and print them ourselves or upload them to a photo center for nearly instantaneous printing.

Perhaps because I am a product of the earlier generation, I still have trouble discarding bad or duplicate images, even though I have no monetary or even sentimental investment in them. I'm slowly getting better at culling out the truly bad pictures, just because their sheer volume makes it difficult to sort through my files.  But my computer system is so thoughtful it creates its own filing system (by date) for me.  And so I find myself with a picture file that looks like this:

And as the little "elevator bar" to the right hints, this is just the tip of the ugly photo file iceberg.  Hundreds of folders, some with dozens of photos, some with only one or two, arranged only by date.

Since my desk is still tidy, it seemed like a good time to turn my attention on my electronic filing system and do some major organizing there, too.  A few hours of work, and the files now look like this:

There are two remaining (and important) steps to finish this project. One is to go through the exported file folders and the photos on my flash drive files, and get all the pictures in one central location (and backed up); then go through each folder and cull out the remaining bad shots that I'm never going to need, want, use, or even think about again.

But I'm happy to report I'm at least one step closer to reaching that peak of photo organization nirvana, since I now have a framework of file organization that I can work with.  And I didn't even have to blow the dust off any boxes in the process.  Score one for technology!