The Big Purge

Pink Petunia with IPI

Petunia says:  ‘PURGE’

purge [pɜːdʒ]


1. (tr) to rid (something) of (impure or undesirable elements)
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (tr) to rid (a state, political party, etc.) of (dissident or troublesome people)
3. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Physiology) (tr)

a.  to empty (the bowels) by evacuation of faeces
b.  to cause (a person) to evacuate his bowels
4. (Law)

a.  to clear (a person) of a charge
b.  to free (oneself) of guilt, as by atonement to purge contempt
5. (intr) to be cleansed or purified

1. the act or process of purging
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the elimination of opponents or dissidents from a state, political party, etc.
3. (Medicine) a purgative drug or agent; cathartic

[from Old French purger, from Latin pūrgāre to purify]
purger  n


To purge is not easy.  You can see by the dictionary definitions above that:  To purge oneself of anything is not easy, even though it is typically for one’s own benefit to do so. So it will come as no surprise, then, that I have been putting off this purge.  Procrastination is not one of my virtues, rather it is my curse:  “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”  It used to drive my wife frantic (and I understand that), but there are few things in life that can’t be put off —and often they resolve themselves without my time and effort being involved (can you spell JUSTIFICATION is all caps?).

My long overdue mission in life has been to cleanup my photography website (Indochine Photography International):  I wanted to purge my biography of unwanted words and information; I wanted to purge badly titled or unnecessary photo galleries; I wanted to purge [many] unwanted photos; I wanted to add additional ‘high quality’ interesting photos and galleries;  I wanted to add more pop & sizzle to the site.

So I shortened my biography, removing all the crap (that nobody really cares about anyway) about how I always wanted to be a photographer, and how it’s a passion, and how I’m driven to do it.  I removed all the crap about what camera equipment I used since the age of seven, the camera gear I use today, and what equipment I hope to use in the future. Everything in the original biography was true, but everyone says the same old stuff in their biographies.  I reorganized and titled the galleries to reflect the type of photography I do:  Wildlife, Nature, Travel, Street PhotographyBlack & White, Beautiful Women (a personal favorite) and Photos as Paintings.  I may add Portraits, but I am undecided at this point.  The Travel gallery is a bit problematic, because it’s anticipated that the gallery will include photos from many different countries around the world, and I’m afraid that it will quickly get cluttered.  But I’m not sure that creating a separate gallery for each individual country is the solution, because then the total number of galleries will just explode (possibly a gallery for each continent, or a broader descriptor like Latin America, Asia, Europe, etc).  I will have to noodle some more on that.  I then went back to pick [the] definitive gallery image for each gallery—maybe not the best photo in each gallery, but the one that just jumps off the page and into your face (to create immediate interest).  These will probably change from time-to-time, depending on new images and whim.  Then came the PURGE (and to a lesser degree the additions).  To go back and delete everything that wasn’t top-notch in my opinion (I still have them all in my computer files, I’m just not displaying them in my galleries).  I only want my best work presented, and this will also be a moving target as time goes on.  The image should be technically [almost] perfect:  Proper exposure, in focus and well-composed.  But it should also provoke interest and an emotional hook.  It should grab you!  The WOW-factor.  It should invite questions.  Based on that criteria I have additional purging to do.  But it’s hard to plow through literally thousands of photographs (some quite good) and winnow it down to just the top one, two or three percent.  Often times I find that I am emotionally attached to a photo (memories associated with the capture), and reluctant to cut it from the herd.  But I have to remember that although I am emotionally invested, it might not (usually not) have the same emotional impact on the viewer.  You have to be ruthless and your own worst critic.  And that’s why purging is so difficult.  It’s not unlike moving houses, and going through all of your keepsakes to decide which ones to take and which ones to leave behind.  Or worse yet, purging people and relationships from your life when they prove toxic.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of days.  It is a work in progress—still more to do, but at least it’s a start.  I will continue to share many of my photos vis-a-vis my travel blog Expat Journal and also on Facebook, but will be much more selective relative to my galleries.  My intention is to be diligent with the culling process, on a continuing basis, if my tendency towards procrastination doesn’t interfere too much.  I know, personally, that I quickly lose interest when visiting other photographer’s websites (many professional), and am confronted with literally hundred’s (if not thousand’s) of photos—much better a select representation of work instead of every photo ever clicked.

Please feel free to visit my website at Indochine Photography International ( at any time—it’s FREE (unless, of course, you wish to purchase something).  On this blog (Expat Journal) it can be accessed immediately by using the convenient toolbar to the right > Contact.  Also, please feel free to subscribe to this blog without obligation or charge if you haven’t already done so.  Doing so will allow you to receive free email updates alerting you to any new post.

NOTE:  At the time of this post (Monday, 12-09-2013, 12:00 noon – Yucatan, MX time) the host server for my website is down (possibly for maintenance, although I wasn’t informed). I will keep an eye on it to make sure everything is working correctly.  If you are unable to access Indochine Photography International right now please keep trying.  Thank you – S. Dennstedt



2 responses to “The Big Purge

  1. I, too, have been purging old photos (from my files). I find I need to keep photos at least one month after shooting (except for the obvious sub-standard ones) just because I have an attachment to the photo shoot. Then I try to be fairly ruthless. But I have to admit that some photos that only have appeal to me (and are even of poor technical or artistic quality) may stay in my files forever. I am thinking of one in particular of a starling in the distance standing on an old cement block with peeling yellow paint. I don’t know why it touches me but I can’t part with it.

    • I totally agree with you Doris. I keep a lot of those in my files too. What I’m trying to do is to remove them from my website galleries (and keep them for my eyes only). I’ve gone into some ‘Professional’ photographer websites that are so cluttered with photos in their galleries you don’t even want to browse through them. And I’ve gone into some Flickr sites with literally thousands of crap photos on them. To each his own, but I want to display only the best, and keep the ‘good memory’ ones separate from the public ones. But it is tough to be self-critical, and ruthless … Stephen F. Dennstedt Indochine Photography INTERNATIONAL

      Expat Journal

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