Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I forgot to back up my life
If, I could have gone back and picked out the good bits.
Retouched out the blemishes.
Only saved the successes.
I would still remember the tears and mistakes and stupid things of course.
I would remember my short-comings and failings.
I would still be experienced.
But it would not be visible to anyone else.
You don't keep every picture you take.
You don't show them all.
But you become a better and more experienced photographer
for every shot you take.
You learn from both the good shots and the bad ones.
I kept a lot of bad shots of course.
Editing takes time.
It is easier to wait until tomorrow.
Put it on the back-burner.
But so it came that a couple of months ago, finally, I sorted through everything
on my main computer. A powerful G5.
I wanted it clean and neat so that work would flow easily. No mess.
It took me a few days to go through what was there and put it all on an external hard-drive.
Neat and nice. Edited down to the good bits.
About a gig worth of stuff. 2 years of work.
Every photograph I had taken the last 2 years.
I had scanned and photographed a lot of my older film work as well.
I trashed the old films and prints. They just take space.
A neat little drive doesn't.
Then I deleted and trashed all the original stuff that was on the G5,
beside typography and software.
I just needed to get another drive so that I had a back up.
Of course I didn't do it right away.
Had to go on a shoot. A big job. Filming for a few weeks.
All around the globe.
The drive sat there on the desk.
What could possibly happen?
Well, it did. Happen that is.
3 weeks of futile attempts by several data recovery firms and
nothing can be saved.
It's a head crash. Gone forever.
Only fragments impossible to stitch together remains.
Most of the work on that drive was about to be published.
There were two photo books. Material for a new website.
My history in advertising.
I'm not as presumptive as to say the world has missed much.
But me, I, have lost a couple of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth.
My kids have missed a bit of who I am. Or what I do.
I have lost a huge body of work.
I will never be able to remake it.
Maybe I can't even top it.
Despite all that I learnt doing it.
That, however, isn't all that I lost.
I have actually lost my life as it was until only recently.
No, I'm not ill. I'm in good health, knock on wood.
I'm very fortunate in that sense.
But I've made professional decisions, or ignored taking action where I should have, that have left me far from where I was only a couple of years ago.
in the process my family life has deteriorated.
I'm now living alone in a small dingy place in HK, wondering what I am going to do next.
I forgot to back up a lot of things.
But perhaps more importantly.
I never really looked out for myself.
i never had time for that.
Or perhaps I avoided it.
In order to look out for others you have to start with yourself.
I just flowed with the stream.
I've lived in many places all around the world.
Seen different cultures.
So to an outsider it seems I've had to make many hard decisions
to be able to make this journey.
But as a matter of fact I don't think I have.
Some invisible hand has lead me.
And now it has loosened its grip.
I'm on my own now.
If I had been more careful of my life I would have protected it.
i would have made sure I had it secured.
That is perhaps what I mean to say.
I ignored the back-up.