We were heading home from a road trip when my wife asked if I wanted to stop anywhere before our final stop in Seattle. Having become more savvy with maps and my geography, I nonchalantly suggested a visit to Funko’s headquarters in Everett. Though she agreed, she immediately included the stipulation that I do not buy anything. “Gosh, what’s the fun in that?” I thought as I mumbled something about having five items on my list. We quickly found a parking spot headed inside and eventually went our separate ways. When she finally found me I had quickly found Sting, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland (The Police) and two Johnny Cash Funko toys. I don’t know if it was the evil eye or the reminder that I regularly complain about having too many things (Which I do.) but I immediately returned the items to their shelves and returned to my wife’s side like a wounded child who’s Halloween candy had been confiscated. When I returned home. I stood amongst the toys and records that have taken over our second bedroom and wondered how I got here and when will I decide to get out. I hope that time comes sooner than later.
A few weeks ago I had to take my Mac Book to the local Apple store for what seemed to be a major issue. As I turned on the computer that Friday morning I got a flashing warning sign. Being that I get these warnings from time to time, it wouldn’t be any cause for alarm if that flashing warning wasn’t one that I could not, for the life of me, stop from blinking so furiously. It was enough to cause a seizure in any sizable life form. So I made my appointment and headed to the always dreaded mall.
When I arrived I was put in the able care of a gentleman who’s name escapes me. For the sake of story we’ll call him’Genius’. Genius listened intently to my dilemma before describing what kind of work would be needed. I left feeling confident that the problem would be fixed and I wouldn’t be losing years of music and digital images.
Within the week I received a message that the problem was addressed and corrected and that my Mac was ready to be picked up. When I arrived Genius emerged from the back room with Mac in hand. He explained the issues before taking a deep breath and raising his brow to say “James, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much media in all my time working here.” Being that I was well aware of how much music I had on iTunes and the overwhelming amount of digital images I had in Lightroom 4. I expected something would eventually happen. I just never thought that time would come so soon. I couldn’t help but think of digital version of the show ‘Hoarders”. It felt like an intervention of sorts.
In the weeks that followed I began going through old photo sessions and music events I’d shot in recent years. Each folder containing anywhere between two hundred to (gasp) seven hundred images. Over the years I’d painstakingly rated each and every images wit the provided *Star* system, which in hindsight, made it a lot easier to choose what to delete and what to keep. As I began the very arduous task of decided what to trash and what to keep I found myself making excuses while purging a scant amount of images from each folder. But as I began to regularly revisit these old folders I began feeling a weight lifted off my shoulders. This act of purging was becoming part of my daily mantra. Suddenly I found myself deleting thousands of images without hesitation. My years of studio and event photography have shown a lot of growth and there seemed to be no reason to hold onto the past while being constantly reminded of it’s mediocrity. Anything under **** stars was almost deleted. My Mac’s trash folder was beginning to look like a Staten Island landfill. One of the unexpected benefits of this task has been revisiting some of my older images I had stored on Apertureand giving them new life with the advanced features of Lightroom.Thus saving them from the trash heap while giving them new life. In the end I would advise anyone and everyone to put aside a little time here and there to junk those images that no longer suit you. It will help you better enjoy the ones you love. Your hard drive will thank you. Posted are some of the images I may have overlooked before my recent purge. Enjoy. JD
As a budding photographer in the mid to late 90’s I went through countless rolls of both negative and slide film accumulating boxes upon boxes of slides, negatives and prints. I had a neat linen closet in my one bedroom Hell’s Kitchen apartment filled with my photographed history. Everything in a separate, marked envelopes with negatives intact. I was really anal about it and why not. One of the first things I was taught was to keep your negatives with your prints and keep them in pristine condition.
However, at one point all of that changed. I got a job at a photo store on University Place and B&H opened it’s Super Store within walking distance of my apartment. My organizing obsession started and my simple, organized hobby went haywire. One day I had this genius idea to separate my negatives from their prints and put everything into binders. I spent lots of money and time making complete nonsense out of my once perfect system. A few years later my girlfriend moved in and that converted linen closet turned photo library became my girlfriends converted personal storage unit. Negatives and Pictures soon separated before legally becoming divorced and despite supervised visits, rarely saw one another.
Years later I’m happily married to the woman that took over my closet, living in another town in another state. I’ve begun the unenviable task of going through about sixteen years of newly digitalized negatives putting names to bands I may have only seen once or twice at CBGB’s, ABC No Rio, Maxwell’s or perhaps Connecticut’a Anthrax club. Most are immediately recognizable while others draw a complete blank. It seems I attended my share of crappy Thugcore shows at CBGB’s in the 90’s along with a few Jersey Metalcore shows. Add to that I’ve started the process of putting names to the bands I’ve shot since going digital. A task that has been a tad easier since I’ve labelled each folder with at least the nights headliner. One thing I have gone as far as doing is tracking down the names of the band members. There are so many bands I’ve enjoyed over the years. Many of which I never had the opportunity to get personal with. So I’ll continue digging, archiving and shooting. Putting names to the many faces whose music continues to add to my loss of hearing. Back to work…
Everyone has certain hours of the day when they are at their sharpest and most productive. Where each task is taken on with Herculean strength and Buddha like wisdom. Where checklists are quickly checked and the “To Do” lists are wistfully filed in the “Already Does” box. For me personally, that time is between 4:00pm and 2:00am. The hours between 11:00am and 2:00pm however are awash in what I refer to as the ADHD Double D’s. During that time of day my mind often races and I have absolutely no focus. It’s so bad at times I could honestly punch myself in the head. I had pretty much surrendered to the fact that little will be done during these hours. That was until last week.
I decided to try something new and book some photo sessions and band interviews during the peak time when I have the worst concentration. The thought was that by concentrating on one thing and one thing only for that period of time I would be able to regain the attention lost when trying aimlessly to attack numerous projects. I did a couple of studio sessions and sat down for an interview with a local musician. My focus and attention to detail were sharp as a tack. I addressed a couple of studio gaffs, fixing them quickly and even got some great answers from my musician friend, despite my rambling questions. Personally, I think tackling something that has become a major issue in my life is of the utmost importance. Being able to start my afternoons on such a high creative plain is extremely rewarding and paramount for getting the most out of the rest of the day.
Being that I do a lot of writing and photographing of local music I’ve managed to pick up my share of rock tees along the way. Some are bought, some are given as thanks, some just thrown at me to cover my naked body at shows. Whatever the reason, I’ve got a lot of them. As cool as these things might look on the bands merch table or when worn by Joe Hardcore. They do not exactly look flattering on my body. So instead of letting them go to waste in my drawer or in a box on a shelf somewhere. I’ll throw one on a beautiful girl. In doing this I get a fond memory of the shirt and I don’t end up on an episode of “Hoarders”. The shirts always look a hell of a lot better on them and it’s a great way to preserve the memory of the shirt. So if you’re attached to all those old rock tees, Christmas trees, and unfitting wanna bees. Throw it on a beautiful woman and keep those memories fresh.
I’m often complaining that my apartment is too cluttered and there are too many things that are out of place or have never had one to begin with. Over the years I’ve often purged using the old TLC show Clean Sweep’s mantra of “Keep, Sell, Trash.” However, as I’ve learned, no matter how much I get rid of. I basically have the same size apartment. Being that I do so much work from home it makes the apartment feel even smaller. A living room that doubles as my photography studio and a second bedroom that doubles as an office. It’s a juggling act to say the least. If things are out in the open or out of place it creates chaos. Having to deal with that chaos means I get less work done while spending more time doing it.
So today I got up at the crack of dawn and started erecting my own little “Man Cave”. Moving furniture from one room to another while taking random frames off the floor and giving them the walls they have been missing for months. With a little hammering and finagling I created a wall Martha Stewart would be proud of. I cleared my desk to the point I could actually see the surface and created a little nook where everything was within reach. In the end, the only thing missing was a heaping cup of coffee just left of the keyboard. Though I’ll surely be tweaking it with different pictures and such, it is my little peace of mind that takes away some of the stress I feel when I’m sitting here doing what I do. Like the wise man said “Surround yourself with the things you love.” Soon we’ll be moving to a new place. I have visions of a room all my own with nothing but records, photography and all things geeky. A Geek can dream. Right?