Over 2.5 years, I’ve kept 30,809 photos in my phone. According to Google Photos (where I back them up to), I’ve taken way more. On my recent trip to Mallorca, I took 2,286 photos over 10 days. Most of them were of the same thing, just from slightly different angles. Sadly, I’m a compulsive photographer, not a decent one.
Yes, I’m that irritating person you see in museums taking photos instead of appreciating the art. Yes, I am that stereotypical tourist taking photos of e.v.e.r.y. possible thing. How do I live with that shame? Well, I convince myself to take photos of everything I see in hopes of drawing them in my journal. But whenever I do, I get caught up in the details, which means a page takes months to finish, but by then work piles up and weekends get busier and I get lazier (but better at making up excuses) and so, after nearly 21 months with this journal, it remains pretty empty.
Unfortunately, now that work’s slowed down and there are no friends to meet up or gym to go to, I’m out of excuses. Fortunately, getting caught up in the details while drawing an object is now a blessing. Instead of using a clock, time is marked by when I have to move out of the direct sunlight coming through my window and when I have to turn on the lights after the sun sets. In the background, This American Life plays, and Abdi Nor
has gone from a Somalian refugee hiding from the Kenyan police to a proud American citizen as I draw a refuge in the Alps. As I scroll through 105 photos taken on September 7th to find something to draw, Yelena Khanga
tells us how her boyfriend calls her a monkey out of love. On and on, the lives of Americans unfold as I go back in time reliving my trips through my photos.
My journal was given to me in the last week of June 2018 to document my move to Amsterdam.
It starts with my first trip to a museum in September 2018.
Over the past week, I’ve finally managed to draw my way through October 2019.
There are still over 6,000 photos to go through and draw out, but on the bright side, at least the boredom hasn’t set in yet and I’m helping Google’s image recognition AI get better.