I told myself I needed to get into Lightroom and start culling last night. Tonight I managed to get 2018 in pretty good order, then turned myself to 2017 … the 18,000 picture year.

Wow. What a mess. Thousands and thousands of pictures. “Here’s this thing from this angle, with these settings … now here it is from this angle with these settings. What does ‘film simulation bracket’ mean? Oh! It means three versions of every shot! Why the hell did I take a picture of that thing anyhow? Why did I need three of it?”

And worse than the ones that were just bad pictures of weird shit were the ones where I can see what I saw, and see how I missed what I was after. Not thousands of those, but hundreds.

Over and over. Past me is sometimes inscrutable, frequently awful. There are series of photos of the same thing that just go on and on. Dozens. I’m seeing myself worrying at some idea, trying to untie some knot, and failing a lot.

Occasionally, through the noise, something emerges: I found it, or figured it out, and it worked. As I swiped through Lightroom, those rare ones that click made the iPad feel extra fragile until I could mark them as something to be kept, set aside in a safe folder. Then back to swiping through hundreds of the not so great, watching myself learn.