Marking time in May 2015
I’m the kind of guy who uses a controlled vocabulary to keyword his photos. This means that I use consistent words to describe things. Am I sadly obsessive? Maybe, but there are benefits.
There are about 75,000 images in my Lightroom catalog—some scanned, some born digital. I have assigned keywords and other useful metadata to almost all of them. For keywords I use the Getty Research Institute’s excellent Art & Architecture Thesaurus, the Australian Pictorial Thesaurus, and my own controlled lists of terms for projects, places, people, and specialised subjects.
Give me a few seconds and I can find images marked with rustication (99 hits), or thermae (35 hits), or Lucy Marquis-Kyle (1,873 hits). As I add new images and metadata the whole collection gets richer.
On not collecting
Museum people are acquisitive, mostly. They thrive on adding things to their collections, and so ensuring the survival and display of those things.
But some things are better left where they are—like the remains of the aircraft in this photo. The site is on the Cox Peninsular, west of Darwin, where a B-24 Liberator bomber crashed in January 1945, killing the six American crewmen. Components of the plane now lie scattered across the site, among trees that have grown up in the seventy years since the crash.
The bits of the plane, left in the tropical scrub where they fell, evoke this dramatic event. The same bits, if they were taken away to a museum, would not have the same evocative power.