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Jan 15, 2018
I am no tech geek or futurist or whatever, but this scenario has been on my mind for a while and really at the front of my mind recently.
You may ask what got all this going. First it happened a few years back when Facebook started sharing our own memories with us. I started to notice a trend. It seemed in some small way we were starting to digitize ourselves like some kind of futuristic sci fi movie dumping our concensus on to some kind of hard drive for future generations.
What really drove it all home was the loss of two close friends in the fall of 2017. One I saw frequently and was a fellow photographer, and artist, and so much more, The other was a good friend from my school days that I kept in touch with but we only saw each other once a year or so. We really had been close our entire lives. Both left this place and their friends and families behind.
Fact is loss is simply a part of life and none of us as they say ges out of this alive. But The loss of these two friends so close to one another at this point in my life had a profound effect on me. It really set my mind spinning, put me in a bit of a fog, and has certainly caused a disruption in my life. The first and most profound was it really made me start to look at my own mortality and accomplishments or in my view lack thereof. It all started me thinking about ideas and projects never started and projects started and never finished and even some finished but never shared. Fact is it was really all about legacy and what's left behind.
Webster's Dictionary gives the following as one of the definitions for Legacy: a gift by will especially of money or other personal property
So I asked myself what legacy or gift am I leaving behind. As an artist and photographer today I am simply leaving archives of work. To be honest most of them are not bodies of work or stories to be told but a basic database of imagery and videos. Now keep in mind the bulk of my career has been commercial work creating for others and at best maybe 5% personal work or projects, and of that personal work most if not all is in no way in a cohesive form that would be considered legacy or a story for the future about me and what I care about. So I have to decide do I continue or do I make the changes in my heart that I need to make.
The second is I started to notice a weird digital legacy that survives us planned or not. This is the digitizing of ourselves I spoke about earlier. It is a legacy we are not creating on purpose. It is interesting to me I can still go look at my friends pages to this day and look back at all they shared and wrote and see so so much of them in these digital lives we keep. I cannot decide if this is good or bad and the reality is it simply is not up to me to make this decision. But it is interesting to me. Fact is these digital lives will be there until someone takes them down or until it is scrubbed by some Facebook or whatever social media robot if they ever decide to do that. These digital reflections of ourselves and the legacy they create when we are gone if nothing else are a reason to pause and a cause for thought.
After all of this for me there are a few simple actions. One, I have to make a much more concerted effort to create the stories I want to share and to live the creative life I have worked so hard to ignore. Second, I have become ever more particular and intentional about what I share on my social media streams or as I have begun to see them my digital reflection and download of myself for my loved ones to remember me by and for those who never knew to learn about who I am or who I was when I am gone. Hopefully many years from now that is.
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