Last week, I deleted a bunch of old photos while trying to back them up.
By the numbers:
- 2793 photos deleted by accident
- 2531 restored from a backup through a complex, heavily manual process
- 160 restored from a copy on another computer
- 102 photos lost forever
All the files lost were from 2019, but the files almost lost were from 2007 through to 2020.
The files I almost lost were saved by a backup. They were hard to get at though – stored somewhere online, encrypted using some buggy software. So the process I used to restore some of the photos was heavily manual, and I had to look through photo individually to make sure that they’d been recovered correctly. I’m still not 100% sure I did it right.
I don’t think I would’ve taken the time to have ever looked at those photos outside of this almost disaster (?), which kinda makes me wonder why I’m keeping them? I was planning on writing something about memories and legacy and ephemera, but I don’t think I currently have the wherewithal to extrude a precise idea from this experience. You know how every now and again there’s a meme on twitter that tells you to post the last 4 photos from your camera roll without context? Well, maybe this is that. Here’s a bunch of photos from the last 15 years. The “almost delete 2500 random photos from the last 15 years and then pick some of them and blog about them challenge”, if you will.
There were photos of me graduating from highschool; photos of my 18th birthday party at a pizza shop, photos from when a friend got really drunk on the first night of schoolies on box wine and took a bunch of “artistic selfies”.
Wedding photos. A cat sitting on a tissue box, somehow. An extremely grainy list of beers at Muted Horn from back in 2016.
Photos of weddings which I didn’t attend, where the people are now divorced, and who I don’t know very well; the photos are there because Whatsapp saves all your photos to your camera roll. A photo of the “Ladies Home Journal” which was sent to the US branch of my office sometime, for some reason, and I’d apparently snapchatted it to my partner asking if she had any idea what it was.
Blurry photos from a Windows Phone with cryptic notes about Canberra’s electricity grid. Photos from hikes in NSW, Australia, in 2008, 2013 and 2016. The 2016 one was an overnight hike in the Blue Mountains where I fell into a river while trying to wash up and then melted my shoes when trying to dry them by the fire.
A photo of my socks from one night when I got extremely high with a friend. A very stern photo of Stevie from when we were in Norway. A boat on a lake in Nepal. Me with a red sweater and a goatee at my 21st birthday party. A photo of a ute1 under a traffic light about 20 minutes out of Burlington, Vermont, which I’ve always liked.
A photo of a Tawny Frogmouth at a Nature Park in Western Sydney; I took a colleague there in 2014. He was under orders to take a photo of a Quokka while in Australia because they were all the rage on the internet at the time and his partner was into cute shit like that.
A mysterious photo of a man in a suit at an airport. I don’t know which airport. Probably Jackie took it and texted it to me sometime.
Siem Reap. Smoking cigars in a public park near where I lived in 2010. The roadside in Jijiga, Ethiopia; the nose of an Icelandic Horse.
My team at an intern farewell cruise, ten years ago, on a boat on Sydney Harbour. A photo of a printout of the slides from a church service. What looks like it’s also a church service and I have no idea what’s going on here but I think I probably found it absurd at the time and that’s why I took the photo. Maybe it’s a BUSINESS PRESENTATION:
Old Instagram stories about my housemates’ dogs. Photos of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews when I visited Berlin in 2015.
A sword cane, a piano, a photo of someone smoking on break, taken from a coffee shop I hate.
A crab hiding in the rocks. A pile of blankets. A photo of a printout of some extremely cursed-looking code with some hand-drawn annotations that outline what different parts might be for. Montreal. Shisha. A photo of a printout of a bad scan of a self-help book about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. An attempted selfie with a donkey, with white bars on the top and bottom, because it’s an Instagram post from 2013 when everything had to be square and the donkey wasn’t well behaved enough for me to be able to crop the image.
Marcus’ 18th birthday. Kyoto. Pavel and a Melon. This, presented without context:
A Yerevan subway station, a church. A long exposure of a lake in Maine, a photo of an oscilloscope. A drawing of a “boat duck” and my German homework. A scan of a mini film photo with burnmarks.
A time when it was hailing.
Smoking a cigar in the snow. Roller blades. A misspelled name on a takeaway coffee cup. Driving School Fast Course.
Northern Lights. Teufelsberg. Dragon Ball Z 2 for the Super Famicom. Frankfurter Allee in the Spring.
Cheese Boards. Conferences. Seedlings. Powerlines. Marcus and a Zamboni.
Rock Climbing. More weddings; weddings I don’t remember. A memorial to a pony who died because it ate too much because passers-by kept feeding it.
Bridges. Mountains. Aerial shots. The day when everything in Sydney was red because of the bushfires. Stanmore train station, in Sydney, Australia, which I confused for a train station in Germany at first glance.
Friends’ exes, exes’ friends. Dressup parties. Ramen. Laundromats.
Cats. Books. Text conversations. The Mustache Phase.
Torched Cars in Berlin on May 2nd. Concerts. That one bald hill at the south end of San Francisco that I can’t remember the name of.
Acquaintances I don’t recognise anymore. Wounds. Cafes. Cursed Pikachu.
Escalators. Trees. Protests. Burberry Tartan Bucket Hats. Via Ferrata. Spätzle. Annotated screenshots from Neko Atsume.
Fabric samples. A screw in my bike tyre. A foot and a jar of Peanut Butter.
“truck” for my American readers ↩︎