Thursday, August 2, 2012

What's in your Inbox?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart 
I mostly get junk mail in my inbox.  My friend tells me to change my email more often, but I find an odd sense of pride in keeping the same email address for nearly seven years.  Plus, I am the last person to remember to update everyone's constantly changing emails, and thereby am always sending things to the wrong address.  So, who am I to now ask the same of others?  And so, at current count, even after hours of deleting last week, my inbox stands at 5480 emails.

This morning, as I was lazily deleting a few of the day's trash, a TED TV message was among them.  And while I have, at times, been touched by a TED clip here and there, I usually ignore or delete the emails.  Today I opened it, and clicked the link...and watched the video.

It was about photographs, so I was interested, given this month's focus.  After the video started, I realized it was about sentimental photographs.  I almost stopped watching.  I don't feel that way about things, about stuff...even photos.  You know how people ask the question, if you knew your home were burning down, what would you grab before running out the door?  My answer is always the same - nothing but my family.  I can live without everything else.  I don't need all those photos and things, I have my memories.

But I watched on.  And although, I think I would feel differently, I was moved by the stories of families that lost nearly everything in the tsunami that occurred in Japan last year, and how much their photographs meant to them.  People volunteered to retouch damaged family photographs, bringing them back to their original state.  For one man turning 40, the childhood photo of his family was the one thing that remained of his life before the tsunami.  Everything else had been destroyed.

As I sit comfortably in my home, and declare that I wouldn't need to hang onto any of my "stuff", not even a photograph, I have no idea what that man went through.  I may not think I would have any treasures to hold onto, but I am glad that he does.

For me, this month of photography is about creativity and exploring what life looks like through a camera lens.  What different things we all see when asked to catch a glimpse of life in still.  But for others, photography is about capturing meaning and precious moments in one's life.  Perhaps I can find a way to blend the two.

Current Inbox count: 8402 -  I just realized that 5481 number is for unread emails only!  What am I holding onto?  


Cassandra said...

It's a very touching video. I am not incredibly attached to photographs, thought I do have a small collection. Over the past six months, I trimmed down my photo collection from several huge boxes to one shoebox. All photos of family members throughout my life and a few from before me. I let the rest go.

I'll be interested to see if you can blend creativity and memories.

You have me beat for emails. ;) I have 393 emails, 210 unread.

Melissa Baumgart said...

maybe I should add on a inbox clean-up challenge to the month!