#704. Monday Post (19 March 2018)

By Paul Perton | Monday Post

Mar 19

It’s Tuesday and unusually, I’m writing next week’s Monday Post.




Posts don’t usually get written until Monday morning and after an intense struggle to find something interesting to write about.





That’s so, but I’m about to leave for several weeks on the road and might find myself, or the Interwebs a bit scarce in coming days. Anyway, a post on PetaPixel jumped out at me this morning and it was the work of seconds – my effective attention span period – to wonder just what would happen to the thousands of photographs I have, when my time is due.


And of course, the rest of the Susans and our readers and all the other photographers, good and bad, who are busy shooting daily.


I was shocked when recently, Pascal admitted he had little use for yesterday’s images, preferring to shoot anew for today. Of course, he’s been through the Unbacked-up Great Disk Crash and survived. That must have taken care of thousands of images for him. Now, it’s a cycle I’d guess will continue for him until he too, is called to the great darkroom in the sky.


But for us mortals, us anally inclined photographers with thousands of images, carefully edited, star scored, metadata-ed and fanatically backed-up? What of our lifetime’s work? Will a backup disk be discovered in a cardboard box in a junk shop? Will anyone be able to mount it on their computer and read it? Will they care?


Or, will our digital history be discovered in an attic. Stored lovingly on a shelf on a bedroom, no longer is use?





I think we can all be certain that the promises of cloud storage being ad infinitum in both time and volume holds as much credibility as a politician’s election promise. The clock will be ticking from the moment your last monthly tithe is paid and thirty days after that your photography, like your digital remains will be gone.


That means chances are, you won’t get a Vivian Maier moment.


If I can find some ink jet capable paper here in Cape Town, I plan to continue printing some of my better images. Mind you, that will just mean a bit more to jettison when the final house clearing is done by either my wife, or children, depending on who leaves first.


Having waded through my late parents’ life recently, I can tell whoever gets the job not to be fussy and save this photograph for some reason and that one for something else. Dump the lot. In the end, it’s better for your psyche.


In the interim, I’ll keep shooting. It gets me out of the house into some of the world’s most interesting cities and breathtaking scenery. It’s good mental exercise and can be deeply satisfying. It also ensures I can participate in debates about good and bad, get GAS and generally pursue a hobby that makes me content.





One day, someone might discover one of my images in a bin and hang it in a gallery in some city, use it for a front page, or illustrate a book/magazine with it. I doubt it, but either way, I won’t be here to see it or rake in the kudos, so what the hell am I worrying about anyway?




This week’s photographs are from the archives – various road trips around South Africa 2008 – 2011



  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    That’s EXACtLY what I think should happen to Goggomobils! (Apart from that remark, BBL, after everyone else has had a chance to comment).

    • paulperton says:

      I spotted to Goggomobil at a farmer’s gate, deep in the northern Karoo. On an approval scale of 1 to 10, it gets a 10 from me – I just want to tell visitors to “Drive several hundred kilometres, look for the blue car and turn in there.”

  • John Wilson says:

    If we become famous after we have made our final exit …. WHO CARES. We won’t know or care about it. In the mean time do what brings you joy and let history and the universe sort it out after you’ve left.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Oh well – you and I can have a chat, then, Paul.

    Africa and Australia were once part of the super continent, Pangea (along with the Indian sub-continent and South America, and a few other bits & pieces). So it was hardly surprising to note a vague similarity between these landscapes and stuff I’ve seen here, in the Australian outback – as well as a certain difference. Hmm.

    Switching to your text – I think people who store digital images as digital images will eventually solve their own storage problem, with the aid of technology.

    I’ve said it here before – first it was tape drives, then weird disc drives in a thing like a cake dish & cover, then floppies (two sizes), then mega-disc drives & Cd’s. And eventually they are all obsolete – only this evening I was looking for a bit of space on my bookshelf and found a box of floppies I hadn’t yet thrown out – I’ve no idea what’s stored on them, why I kept them, or how on earth anyone could ever get any data off them. And I’ve heard mutterings about future computers having no CD drive, so they’re not going to be much use for much longer either. As for the cloud – some clouds are cheaper than others, I refuse point blank to have anything further to do with Adobe’s subscription “service” so that one’s out anyway (and besides, last costings I saw were horrendous, compared to a few of your own external disc drives). And be warned – they get at you if you use your own disc drives – every now and then they change plugs on you and tell you this UBS port or that whatever-other-port is superior to the one you’ve been using. Oh – and then there are crashes of disc heads, accidents with Microsoft’s “disc eject” sealing the ejected drive forever (unless you pay a small fortune to a specialist outfit to retrieve the data from the drive).

    And then there are prints. Well I am starting to print practically all my photos. It’s a good discipline, although obviously it adds to the cost. You get a much better chance to assess your own work, and it helps improve your photography. You don’t keep prints of all those photos you took and – digitally – failed to wipe, “just in case”. But then you have a whole new storage problem. It’s taken me nearly 9 months to find where I can get a (hopefully reliable) source of albums to put them in. I could of course store them in boxes, but then they’d need to be the same size or I wouldn’t be able to store them sequentially, the way I want to. Indexing is another issue – easy to scan digitally, a lot harder with hard copy (ask any librarian from yesteryear).

    And unless you are as good as Ansel Adams, longevity eventually solves all you storage problems anyway. I remember what I threw out when I last moved house – my wife would have no interest in “those old photos” and my sole remaining brother is so unpleasant that we haven’t had anything to do with each other for quarter of a century, so I have no “old photos” of my own family and a lot less “junk” to store). And no doubt the same will become of all of my own photos – my wife will keep them for a while if I die first (I’m older than she is, so that’s quite likely), but eventually she’ll cull them and after we’re both dead, POSSIBLY one of our nephews or our niece might keep some of them out of idle curiosity, for a while longer. Maybe some historical society might gain access to them and keep some of the ones that feature local “history” – it’s certainly happened with a collection of photos taken by one of my ancestors, who pioneered photography in the state where I grew up and had left behind him literally thousands of glass wet plate negatives from the first half century of white colonisation of the state. The representatives of the State Archives who turned up to collect them nearly fainted when they saw what a treasure he’d left behind. I doubt whether anyone will feel quite like that, looking through “my old photos”, though.

    Do I care? Not a bit. I take photos for my own personal amusement. I imagine said ancestor did too, but there’s a wealth of difference between mine, and being a person who created a photographic record of early settlement spanning half a century and providing a detailed picture of life throughout the most important part of the area settled by white colonists, as they spread out – an area covering several thousand square miles. One of my friends is so keen on my photos that she asks when can I prints some more for her – but even she asked why I bother putting them in albums and said they’ll all be chucked out when I die.

    So why do it? That’s easy to answer. Do you all know that silly joke, “why did the chicken cross the road?” The correct answer is “to get to the other side”. Other entries include “because it was there”. In our case, why do it? – and in mine, the answer is because I love doing it. It’s creative. I have ALWAYS loved being in a darkroom, plunging the enlargement in the developing dish and watching – under that eery red light – as the image starts to materialise on the paper. A friend of mine and I once jointly published a book of our photos – and that was the ego trip of a lifetime! (I’ve had others since, in a different area of life, but they[re irrelevant here). And now, I can produce colour prints, sitting where I’m sitting as I write this. I don’t give a rat’s, what anyone else thinks of my photography, because I’m not doing it for them anyway. Besides, in all probability, they’ll never see it.

    It’s creative and it’s fun to do – and that’s all the answer I need, to your questions.

    Next is to write an article, and share some of what I’ve learned, with other photographers – just as you guys and countless others around the world have been doing, since the internet gave everyone a forum like this to share their knowledge and experience with others. On the whole, photographers are a pretty nice bunch – there are trolls occasionally, but they are a small minority. I don’t recall seeing any sign of trolls on DS, although Pascal’s and Philippe’s and your memories would extend far further back than mine. That’s another reason for my photography – social interaction, like this – and some of it IS face to face, too – like group photos shots, and chatting to other photographers (it’s not ALL done on the internet!)

    I just like doing it.

    Whatever. 🙂

  • Cliff Whittaker says:

    Well, Mr. Paulperton and Mr. Guaron left me with nothing to say except thank you for the summary of my philosophy on this subject. Oh, and thanks for posting some very nice pictures here.

  • Dave Jenkins says:

    Well, I really do care. I love my photographs and don’t want them to die with me. That’s why I create books. Several published so far, another looking for a publisher.

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