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First Click: The unexpected gift of a corrupted photo library

June 24th, 2015

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In terms of computer tragedies, losing a photo library is one of the most painful. Especially when the library contains the first two years of your child’s life.

Several months ago I opened Aperture and found 90 percent of the images corrupted — the thumbnail previews looked fine but the full RAW images were useless. The faces of my tiny cherubim were shredded by great horizontal jaggies of pure color. It was then that I discovered the backup, too, was corrupt. Fuck!

First Click glitch

I spent the next two weeks in a panic, doing my best to salvage the database. After much work, I managed to extract a hierarchical directory containing hundreds of folders and tens of thousands of files including — thankfully — some salvageable JPGs. Exhausted and sensing hope, I decided to continue the operation later, until later turned into yesterday.

This time I found beauty in the twisted digital wreckage. I discovered vibrant, colorful glitch-art I couldn’t see through my inky-black rage. Sure, I lost the original RAW imagery but I gained something new, a serendipitous interpretation of my visual past. Images I would have deleted as murderous junk a few months ago have now been sorted and saved with care into their own album. Right alongside the shots of my boys learning to skateboard and my daughter learning to walk.

With time comes perspective, and this time my procrastination was rewarded with art.

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