Nov 19, 2015

The Lost Road Trip: California

California has been on my mind a lot this year. With each visit I've become more ambitious in planning my shoots and documenting my exploration of places both familiar and off the beaten path. What may look like a vacation is actually a well thought out departure with the intent of capturing experiences and growing my professional brand of cultural photography. There's actually a ton of work that goes into it, hence it's pretty devastating when things go wrong.

A few weeks ago it all went very wrong. In the course of 15 minutes I lost roughly 8000 images from my summer road trip in California this June. Just typing that hurts. On a professional level it's a huge setback for some of the new work I had planned. How might this happen, you ask? Well despite backing up my images in triplicate, essentially three things had to go wrong to lose 8000 pictures in a blink. 

1. The power went out while my computer was updating. This inadvertently damaged my "working projects" hard drive making it inaccessible. 2. My external backup for those images in "working projects" was accidentally overwritten at some point by a folder of California images that I also shot this year, but not the ones that were lost. 3. The last resort was the backup I'd made to my laptop, only to discover it was incomplete.  

Roadside California
From the coast to the desert, from downtown Los Angeles to crossing the Golden Gate in San Francisco, this is a growing photography series featuring the landmarks, culture, natural wonders, and visual mosaic that is California.
Posted by Editing Luke on Monday, November 9, 2015

It's insane to have prepared for something just like this to happen, and then still see the dominoes fall from seemingly random quirks and accidents. More than anything, it's just bad luck. It was a completely random twist of fate that resulted in the loss of over a weeks worth of work and several thousand dollars worth of travel. Fuck.

The stress is made worse by the notion that I must have the images somewhere else. That's always been the case. And yet, no. They're gone. I've looked everywhere. I can picture what I shot and it's so depressing to know some of that stuff can never be recreated. 

What's left of the road trip is a series of fragments and clues to larger galleries that would've appeared on this site. I have 11 photo sets from the June trip that were completed, were posted to Editing Luke, and then backed up to my archive. I have some random shots that I took for my Instagram account. And, my friend Travis did me a huge favor and was able to recover about 900 images from the scrambled hard drive. It's certainly better than nothing, but in the end I lost about 70% of what I captured. 

Images from all over Los Angeles, driving the California portion of Route 66, coastal landmarks around Oceanside, and exploration around the Salton Sea - gone. I chalk it up to a lesson learned. I'll be more dilligent about having copies moving forward. And other than that the only option is to go back. The flight is already booked. 

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