The other night, I was looking through some old files to find a low-light photo to illustrate a book I’m working on. While doing this, I happened upon two folders of pictures I had shot of jazz great Sonny Rollins.
I had completely forgotten about them. Now, the memories came rushing back.
I shot the pictures years ago on the New Haven Green one beautiful summer night. Seeing Sonny live was amazing enough; photographing him while he was blowing his horn was a shift in consciousness that I can’t begin to describe.
I was so close to him that I could hear his breath when he inhaled, and I could hear his foot tapping time.
How could I have allowed these pictures, important to me if no one else, end up lost in a folder somewhere?
Time to Dig Out
OK, I’ll admit it. I’m not the most organized person in the world when it comes to filing my photo collection — digital or film. That’s why I misplaced those photos, and have lost thousands of others over the years.
I’ve shot some of the greatest musicians alive — Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Count Basie, Eric Burdon — to name a few.
Where are those pictures now? Heaven only knows; somewhere either in boxes or in my vast array of hard drives.
I’d love to take a year off and dedicate it to organizing my hundreds of thousands of photos, but unless I happen to marry a wealthy heiress or win the lottery, that ain’t gonna happen.
I haven’t thrown up my hands and given up, mind you. I’m gradually digging out and beginning to organize things, but it’s going to take a long time.
Don’t Be Like Me
So, all of this is to say, don’t be like me — particularly if you’re early in your career and don’t have so many photos to manage and document. It’s easier to get organized as a photographer if you start out that way.
I suggest two investments if you’re serious about getting organized:
- Buy a copy of The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers. It’s worth more than the $50 asking price ($32 on Amazon).
- Buy Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software, which is an organizational tool (mainly for RAW images) that interfaces nicely with Adobe Photoshop CS5. It will help you develop a system for your photography life.
I’m thrilled I stumbled upon those photos of Sonny. I just wish I knew where my Jimi Hendrix negatives were, or those cool slides of Johnny Cash I shot at Toad’s Place. Oh well — one thing at a time, right?