Letting Go – and Digging Out

Looking Past Kodachrome

I’m one of those photographers who was initially reluctant to make the move to digital. I loved the aesthetics of capturing the “perfect” transparency, and the brilliance and fidelity of peering through film on my light table.  Only with time did I begin to appreciate the many advantages that digital brought: the instant feedback, the limitless numbers of frames, and the ease of sharing.  But it was a difficult transition, especially for an old guy like me that had amassed more than a hundred thousand transparencies over the years.

Yes, I had a lot of slides. And although I would like to say that every one was a work of staggering genius, the fact is that less than 5% of my collection really generated any sales – the rest simply took up room. (An observation my wife made on a regular basis)  “I will edit them,” I told her, ” and get rid of the ones that weren’t worth keeping.”   I truly believed that   – but somehow  I never found the time.

Then came the winter of 2008. Here in Seattle, we rarely get snowstorms of any consequence – just a lot of rain. But this one, just before Christmas, shut down the city and covered the streets with ice. We were stuck in our house  for 9 days. So how did I kill the time?  By finally editing my slide collection..for 9 straight days…and when the ice and snow finally cleared, I hauled a truck load of garbage bags, filled with my life’s work, to the Seattle Dump.

I mentioned this process to a colleague who writes for Shutterbug, and he thought it worthy of a story.  Have a look:

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/big-edit-which-kevin-schafer-drives-dump

With 90% of my slides composting in a landfill, I have never  once regretted my decision. And if I can inspire others to get off the dime, and do a serious edit of decades worth of  slides, I’ll have done a real service.

Go for it…and let me know how it went.

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