It’s important to have access to your photos. Digital Asset Management, while a cumbersome, tongue-twister of a term, is incredibly important. I currently use Abode Photoshop Lightroom to manage my photos (digital assets) but have used other databases over the years. I loved using iView Media Pro before Microsoft bought them and turned the software into Expressions Media, a name that still makes me cringe. No matter. Lightroom does the job well, albeit with a few flaws that make my jaw clench from time-to-time.
My image library has grown exponentially ever since I switched to digital photography. It’s not uncommon for me to click the shutter several hundred times in a outing. Major trips, like my Grand Canyon adventures, often yield thousands of images. I now have a daily ritual where I go through the library, add keywords and metadata, and sort through things, tinkering and organizing. I label images, move them into permanent archives, try to find synergies among them. I put them into virtual collections, trying discover how certain images belong together.
It used to be that film negatives would live a sterile life entombed in plastic sleeves. Once a negative got put away, it was hard to envision how it might come to life again. Now, as I scan the old negatives one-by-one, and put them into the database, they breathe anew. They are old friends—here for a big family reunion.
It’s all about resonance. While sorting and tweaking and organizing, certain photos speak to me. They vibrate, tugging at my heart. I simply must bring them out and see what I can do with them. Usually, that means bringing them into Photoshop and playing some more to see what happens. The organizing is akin to knitting. Sometimes one just wants to move the fingers in a kind of ritualistic exercise. That’s what the organizing is for me. Then, I discover something deep in my digital catacombs that need the light of day. The image stirs and comes alive.
Today I was doing my above-described organizing. Yesterday was stressful, with too much external noise. I needed to get back to my real work. While organizing, I found this image of a duck in-flight. It almost brought tears to my eyes. The duck seemed so intent on flying, moving, finding freedom. After my day yesterday, it made me want to cry out in affirmation.
So, here it is, for you to enjoy as well.