Tuesday, September 26, 2023

After the crash - on memory

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a very strict way of organizing my digital files. So nothing is labelled xxny7 or what not but rather "Ksara - Valentine's 2023" or something like that. So looking through my archives, which I often do if you follow the blog or any of my other digital presences, is super easy. Yet, for a long time now I have been hit with a series of unfortunate events (a la Lemony Snicket). Anything that could go wrong did do wrong.

The latest event in the series involves me waking up the other day to find my PC broken in half. It never happened before, I have never seen it happen before, yet here it was - my PC was broken in half. Before I got to copy any file on the desktop, the screen crashed. Apparently the technician told my brother that the hard drive was kaput to boot. Which means all my 2023 archive was lost. Including the soundtrack of my new film which only had 11 seconds to cut before it was final - considering the soundtrack is 2 and a half hours long you can imagine my dismay.

Still, yesterday I went through the gargantuan task of reassembling said archive from the very few people I talk to via Whatsapp. Personal family photos were shared with my brother - so I got to download these again. And considering that usually the bulk goes to my nephews, and with them growing older, so there was much less photos taken this year. I lost the photos that were taken by my nephew who is an excellent photographer mind you - which I had saved in a special file. 

Well, it helps I rarely attend events so basically the very few photos of me in places were recouped as they were sent to a friend. Actually, come to think about it, I only speak to about 3 people via WhatsApp - my brother (my other brother phones rather than writes) and 2 friends. So basically I got the photos back from the said convos. 

This has been a very bad year business wise, so basically very little "work" was lost. I think the only silver lining was that the major humongous 1994-2022 archive was already saved in a double copy on 2 external hard drives - you know all my work (artistic, advertising, personal creations, tidbits, archival images, family photos and the whole lot.... Just the folder "making of" which is the file which saves how my artistic work was done runs through hundreds of Gigabites).

So basically, yesterday, after all the snooping, downloading, this and that, about 95% of the archive of 2023 was rescued. No mean feat. It helps that I run a blog, so basically all ads I shot this year (or most) were already on the blog waiting to be downloaded. But all of this exercise, made me think about "memory" and what remains. 

Not to stereotype, but for a long time, major photo studios in Lebanon were held by Armenians (even mobile ones were at the Burj square to offer instant photos to people). So my brother labelled me once "Artine" (a common Armenian name) because I used to take photos maddeningly at family events or gatherings. Yet, when our father passed away, both of my brothers wanted his photos - especially those taken with their kids.

As my nephews and niece grow older, there is less interest for them to be taken in photos. But, in each of our houses as a family there is one special photo that was taken of the three of them when they were kids. People who see the image do the oohing and aahing etc.... Except the image has a secret - it is not real. When I was supposed to take it, the kids being kids, when two of them stood still, the third would start fidgeting. And when the fidgeting one would stand still, one of the other two would start moving. So in the end I took a photo of two of them and inserted the third digitally. 

Maybe I am just saying that even our best memories are just reconstructed in our minds. We just build them up and hype them and embellish them, just to pretend we had something to hang on to. Which is both, sad and beautiful at once.