Do you remember your first roll of colour film? How you saved up for it and went out and shot the brightest things you could find plus a sunset? How you proudly bored everyone in the family with the slides for a month after?
Well I'm betting that you can still find those slides somewhere in the house - unless you burned the house down or lived in Darwin. Go look them out and peer through them again. Disregard the dust on the surface - overzealous housekeeping is a sign of a weak character. We're strong in my family - we've got dust bunnies the size of Volkswagens. But I digress.
Look at what you saw and recorded. Look at how you rendered it. Consider how far you have come in your photographic career if you can use the term "render" and not mean stucco on a wall. Quite an improvement, eh?
Well, spare a thought for those photographers who have not improved their focusing skill, or their ability to judge light, or their compositional eye past that first roll of Muddychrome. They still have fingerprints on the emulsion side of their digital sensors and they still have camera shake in 6 dimensions. They still take pictures of dirty dishes in the sink and give them world-changing complex titles. About the only difference between their output now and then is that now they are iconic legends, award-winning master ambassadors, and world-famous branded artistic entities.
Perhaps that course of study at a university or technical school or the years that you have spent competing in the camera club have been a mistake? Should you have been roaming the world on photo safaris and journalistic exploration when all you really needed was a fried egg on a plate and a cigarette butt? Perhaps you should have just gone for another sunset, but this time wrap the lens in waxed paper and kick the tripod over. Ah, regret is a difficult emotion to deal with.
Tell you what. We still have a chance. Go to your hard disk or cloud storage and draw out the first 36 images that pop up on the screen. Type in random codes if you need to. Open them in a really basic editing program and add a plug-in or app that makes a 35mm film effect on the edge of the image. Add grain. Add dust and specks if the program has it or just wash over the entire images with a picture of a dead rat at 12% transparency. Motion blur half of them. Now type the entire content of last year's motivational calendar under the images as titles - one sentence at a time. Don't stop when you get to the printer's advertisement - it can be as poignant as the rest of the thing.