Twenty Thousand Photographs

Warren Photographing

"Warren Photographing" - photo: Anna Linden

I am a fairly serious amateur photographer, not only in quantity, but also in quality. I am very picky about my technique and equipment as you can see from my website on the subject. As all shutterbugs know: there is nothing like a trip to somewhere new for generating a LOT of photographs. On a typical day on such a trip I'll have around 70 new shots in camera at the day's end. I try to get the shot right first time every time, but we all make mistakes, and any obvious failures I'll delete immediately. During post processing I'll cut back the 70 to around 40, killing any that are boring, flawed or similar to others.

What with parties, events and normal home shots the total on my hard disc climbed steadily as the years went by, and it was only a matter of time until I had 20,000 finished works sitting there. This had to be worth a poem and I got the idea for this one in early 2011 while writing "My Home Is Here In Australia". I wrote most of it in November 2011 after returning from a month in NSW with my computer bulging with new shots.

Twenty thousand photographs: I must be 'round the bend!
It's taken half my bloody life: More time than I should spend.
They don't make any money, so it's hard to comprehend:
Why I embarked upon this course, I should have seen the trend.

I've stored full twenty thousand shots, a fact you may accept.
But actually, it's more than that, they're just the ones I've kept.
The motion-blurred and out-of-focus shots away I've swept,
And brackets? Well I just keep one. That makes me an adept!

We've just come back from New South Wales. We saw a lot of stuff.
I've kept more than twelve hundred shots. I tell you that's no bluff!
Sit back and watch the slideshow. I won't hear of a rebuff.
It's just an hour and a half. They're classics sure enough!

I process every photograph with steady, jaundiced eye.
Exposure I correct until it meets my standards high.
The colour then I balance from the subject to the sky,
And the framing and alignment I adjust until they fly.

I've pictures of the British Isles and pictures of the sea,
I've pictures of my chairs at home and even the TV!
There's spiders and mosquitos and a blooming apple tree,
And some toilet blocks and bracken and some boats moored at the quay.

There's shots of friends and family by thousands don't you know.
Of Christmases and christenings and parties that they throw.
There's the ancient cars and houses and the children as they grow,
They're my mem'ry on computer of my loved ones long ago.

I specify each subject when I type each file name.
IPTC1 likewise I fill, to say from whence it came.
Direct'ries hierarchical by subject: that's my game.
And also the originals are kept in manner tame.

I use Adobe Lightroom, and I've got the process down,
To just three minutes every shot. The fastest in the town!
5 hours to do a hundred! Man, that's got to make you frown!
And it scares off at the effort, the pretenders to the crown.

Twenty thousand photos, when you do the math'matique.
Is one thousand solid hours, just to process ev'ry tweak.
That's 6 months of steady labour at a forty hour week.
You'd wonder if the game is worth the candle, so to speak.

You can tell me it's a waste of time, regard me as a fool.
And tell me, if I'm serious, that I should go to school.
But I take classy photos irrespective of the tool.
And ev'ry one that sees them seems to think they're pretty cool.

So I will go on shooting while my brain can hold the thread.
I'll frame each shot I see until the concept's put to bed.
I'll process ev'ry image til it fits what's in my head.
And I'll be getting pleasure from my shots until I'm dead.

Warren Mars - November 2011

  1. International Press Telecommunications Council who defined a set of metadata properties that can be applied to images. This data includes: Country, State, City, Sublocation, Photographer, Copyright etc.