I am so excited to be asked as a monthly contributor to Dear Photographer. I mean, I think my images are okay at times. I can see huge growth in them over the past years. I feel like I finally get it, kinda, but to have validation of other photographers saying my work is more than just okay, then to ask me to write about it, I mean *swoon*, right? So immediately when I was asked I jumped up and said yes! Then I thought, oh no, I have to write something. I mean showing off a few images is one thing, but now I need to write too. I can’t even keep my own blog updated. I mean seriously, it’s been months since I’ve posted over there.
Then came the thought process of what I would post, what images I would pull from and then the heartache hit me again. It’s like an elephant sitting on my chest, thunk. I don’t have many images anymore. I have a few I could pull of facebook, or download from an online gallery, but not much. A few recent things of my kids, but nothing else. You see… I was dumb, an idiot, lazy. I did that one thing that everyone knows not to do, but we get caught up in life and we just don’t do it. We let it go, we think bad things will never happen to us… well, it did – my hard drive failed.
Now, everyone take a deep breathe and think about that. All images gone. Sure, they are on facebook, but I can’t print those. All of my personal images of my own family, kids, life before kids, gone. Client images, gone. Just like that. To make it worse, I was on vacation when it happened. My husband was home and called to tell me that my external hard drive just didn’t sound right. I was frozen with fear. I had galleries still pending to deliver, my kids images. What am I going to do?
So, I started scrambling, my own images were one thing, but what about clients. Last session I shot – still on my SD card, sigh of relief. Session before that – the one I just finished editing before driving to Georgia, gone. Two sessions before that, one I found on a thumb drive from my sales session with them, sigh of relief. The other one, the client happened to order an album of the entire session through Miller’s, they still have the images on the server and they shipped me an archive CD, sigh of relief. I had just started the transition into selling clients beautiful art to put on their walls, instead of handing over an online gallery. This saved all my other sessions. So all in all, I was only looking at the loss of one gallery, but all my personal images and portfolio work was gone.
So I call my IT buddy, and say “help me!!!” He looks at it and says “good luck.” I move up the ladder to the next IT guru, my Uncle in Arizona. He says his business generally can recover 70%, overnight it from Florida. No such luck, I’m in the lucky 30%, so off it went to the big guns. Ship it to Missouri, and after days of anticipation over a long holiday weekend, the final verdict, most of it can be recovered for the tune of $1230.00. My heart is screaming at me, “find the money and pay for it!!!” My wallet is screaming at me foul obscenities to get lost! In the end – I paid it, partly because of the guilt that it was my own stupidity for losing my images. I knew better, my back up drive was sitting in the box, just waiting to be unpacked and hooked up. I had heard the horror stories from others, I knew what could happen, but I let life get in the way. I looked at that box everyday and thought, as soon as I am done editing this session I will hook up that drive. Just let me finish this piece of marketing and I will hook up that drive. Tomorrow when I get up, I am going to hook up that drive. Well, it’s hooked up now…
I can look at the previews of my images, all 39,262 of them, and see what I lost. It’s like looking at a piece of warm apple pie, but not being able to eat it. It sucks. Hopefully my new drive with old images will arrive this week. I can bet you it will go on my new hard drive that is mirrored to another hard drive and will go into online galleries, plus I am going to put each client session when completed on its own flash drive to store in a fireproof safe. I will add more prints of my own on to my walls, and I will tell others. Learn from my pain, mirror your drives, use online back up services, do something!!!!
So, here are few of my favorite images. They are saved from Facebook, unable to print, due to low resolution. They are my personal images, of my life, the ones that are important to me. The ones that I have lost the digital negative to, with hopes that they will be returned for a big price tag.