Double Trouble

I really didn't know I had a problem. The Hub has long been wary of my interest in the camera. And not in a Marilyn Monroe loving-the-lens sort of way. It's my obsession with recording every minute of our lives that has baffled him. On our first weekend away in Venice there are not many pictures of him -- he chose to not feed my addiction and hid from the camera. Now he finally plays along -- just grins -- or at least bears it.

But I didn't realize how bad it really was. Not until the boxes arrived from my parents' house two weeks ago. Not only did they contain 15 photo albums, but boxes and boxes of the negatives, doubles (remember doubles?) and rejects from the albums. Not to mention the albums and the pretty large basket of rejects that I already had over here.

I have started sifting through them and it was fun at first, trying to decide which bad memories or ex-boyfriends to discard from my collection in a bit of revisionist history. And then the sheer number of photos became terribly overwhelming. You would think I had lived in New York City for 30 years instead of 3. And that college lasted a decade. And most of the pictures of that time in my life are of the inside of bars. Friends with arms around each other, doing shots, looking happy, albeit a little drunk. I think my roommate and I must have taken pictures of every single night out we ever had. And at least a roll of film each time. There was even a series of photos of said roommate giving me my birthday gifts one year. These were exciting times.

Part of this I suppose was youth -- believing that all I experienced at that age was terribly important and I had to record every second of it. Also, I really valued my friendships and those fun times we were having (I still do, in fact). Which is all good stuff.

But why the boxes and boxes of extras and rejects and negatives? Just in case someone broke into our East Side apartment and stole my treasured photo album collection? So I could recreate it all?

The thing that I am finding particularly interesting about this whole process of de-cluttering (click here for an overview of what I am up to) is what I am learning about myself. On one level I am absolutely horrified of my degree of hoarding on the photography front, but on another I am touched about how much I have wanted to record the good things in my life so far.

I have decided to categorize the photos first before I even attempt to decide what to keep and what to get rid of (even though I already have a shoebox of definite rejects). It is just too overwhelming otherwise. It will be interesting to see how many of these photos I end up keeping -- how many do you actually need to remember the happy memories? And how much of it is just hoarding?

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