I think sometimes that as artists, we hold on to things. Because many of us create objects, objects themselves become precious to us. There are lots of things that deserve to be honoured, and kept, and celebrated. But there are also things that are just that. Things. So when do you let stuff go?

Part of my problem is that things are precious. Part of my problem is that I’m a hang-onto-just-in-case person. Part of my problem is that I’m cheap. These three things start to make you seem like a hoarder if you’re not careful.

In the year between high school and university I worked in a framing shop. Besides gaining some useful skills, I also ended up with a lot of frames. Sometimes it was because I needed them, sometimes it was just because they were a good deal and I might need them in the future, being a photographer and all. So frames, mat boards, film, bits and pieces of equipment, have all been kind of professionally hoarded by me for years. I’ve moved six times in the last seven years, and I’ve moved all of that stuff each time. I rarely find a frame in my hoard that is exactly the size I need, and I don’t even own a mat cutter anymore. So why haul is all around? Because it kills me to think that I might need to buy mat board again, when I have had a perfectly good stack in my closet for years. Because it makes me sad to think that if I get rid of my expired film I’m officially a digital person. Because I may, one day, need an intervalometer for a 4×5 camera.

But I need some space, and I need to purge some of this stuff from my house and my life. A friend just came and took the mat boards; I know they’re going to a good home where he’ll actually use them. Another friend just got a Hasselblad, and would love a bag of 120 film. And the frames can go toValueVillage, screw that. The time for student projects and framing 60 prints at a time is over for me. I’ll keep my old film loupe, because it’s beautiful, and sculptural, and nostalgic, but I’ve learned that when this wave of momentum comes, I need to ride it. It’s like a little chance to start fresh, and to make room for what I really need. Can you relate? What do you keep and what do you purge?


image sources: 1 + 2