This is a chapter from the book A Lesser Photographer.
My best friend, Tom, had a house fire in the 1990s that destroyed all of his photos and negatives (during his most prolific period as an enthusiastic young hobbyist). As a result, he developed an entirely different way of approaching his archive.
Tom said it was better to revisit the places in those negatives and produce something even better. He told me to throw away my old negatives. He gave me a few hundred new projects in under five seconds, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Life is fleeting, and you can’t take your archives with you. The real value in photography is an appreciation of the present.