When Duds are Keepers

I was going through some photos today that I had gathered for a photo organizing presentation back in February in Stockholm (remember when we used to be able to gather in one room?? Or travel overseas, for that matter?!!). I wanted to share one of them here to illustrate one of the criteria for deciding which photos to keep and which to toss.

In general, we know that it’s best to toss photos that aren’t the best quality – blurry, dark, random, etc. But here’s an example of a blurry photo that I will keep. Why? Because sometimes a photo of lesser quality still tells a story, or it may be the only photo you have of a person or event and even though it’s sub par, it’s better than no photo at all.

In the case of this photo, I was studying in Leningrad, USSR for a semester and I had purchased a new camera to take with me. Back in the olden days, it was always recommended to shoot and develop a roll of film with a new camera to ensure everything was working properly, but I didn’t have time to do that before I left.

Lo and behold, I became the living example for why that recommendation was a good idea. Every shot I took was out of focus, and because I wasn’t able to develop the film until I got home four months later, I had no idea the camera was malfunctioning.

So, I will always keep these “imperfect” photos as a reminder of my time in Russia, and I have come to appreciate how the images, like my memories of the time I spent there, are soft and nebulous. But I will want to be sure to keep this information with these photos so that years from now, if someone were to come across them and wonder why they were in the collection, they would understand the story behind them.

Just something to keep in mind as you’re sorting through your own photos, deciding what to keep or toss, or if you’re wondering why those before you chose to hang onto less-than-perfect photographs!

Published by Amy

Professional Organizer specializing in digital and photo organization. Bassist/singer for prog-rock duo Clatter.

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