“Please keep your arms, legs and head inside the vehicle at all times so you don’t die.”
A while ago I was reading an article about post-mortem photography, or at least that is how I read it. It’s when people don’t develop their photos, then die. And other people find and market the shit out of them for personal gain. And oh! there is another kind: the photographers that hoard their own photos, standing in piles of their own photographs, just doing nothing. Sometimes they tend to wait (and die), hoping that the passing of time artificially increases the value of their photos.
As you might as well noticed by now, death is omnipresent. Even in this article.
With all this pandemic, a strange thing came to mind. What would happen to my photos and ongoing projects if I would like… die?
The thoughts that follow are various extrapolations based on real cases that I came across.
As the photos are mostly digital these days, the sources are likely to be lost if not shared on a drive with someone who can save your work. No digital museums to be interested in having them. No proper digital archives to include them in. If you have film photos there are more chances they will survive, if not lost among the possessions to be shared between your descendants. The more physicality the photos have, the bigger the chances they survive.
An undocumented incomplete research would look something like this. Researches are boring anyway. In ascending order towards the safest way not losing your photos:
– not taking the photo
– in-camera/in-phone locked
– external drive/memory cards
– cloud drive shared
– analog photography
– digital archives
– museum physical archives
Here are some nightmarish thoughts about the people that get your photographs after you die: maybe they like selective saturation, or filters. Or maybe those kind of people don’t respect format ratios when they crop their photos. Imagine your photos printed and some artsy lady cums and writes calligraphic copyrights on them. Not to mention about pixel-peepers or technical freaks or sky-replacers, don’t get me started on them. So yeah: imagine those people having ownership, editing and exhibiting your photos. But, being dead, all you can do is try to haunt them.
So, are you basically fucked if you don’t “make something” out of your photos during your lifetime? My answer is “Yes”.
You should be able to enjoy the outcome of above mentioned activity while you are still alive and not dead. You must see the impact of your photos among the viewers, no matter how that turns out. You should express your own view on your own material – how you envisioned it to be; You are the creator and you must present it the way you want to. Other interpretations are also welcomed, but must be complementary to yours.
A special “fuck you” goes to all the people who say “I take photos for myself, for my own pleasure” but have photography accounts on media sharing networks. A bunch of scared jerk-offs that don’t have the balls to go public. I know, I was there. Grow a pair, or be forgotten.
So why are we afraid of doing something with our photos? Why am I afraid?
People will judge you, nevertheless; and it is their prerogative to do that, as your work is public and can be seen by others. They will probably critique your work or claim it doesn’t raise to high standards. They will say that you could have done better, faster, brighter. You will start thinking that maybe, even if your project is finished, in a few years, after you get more XP points you will create a better something out of it, so you should wait a little more. And a little more, and maybe a little more. And then you die.
Don’t worry about that as it is all utter nonsense. All you have to do is be damn sure that at that moment in time, when you create that specific “something”, you give your 100%, the best you can do, your decisive moment. Everything else is irrelevant, the “could have been” and “should have been” are just water under the bridge.
The best version of you created the best version of your work at that specific time.
I forgot what I wanted to say… I was going to make an announcement.