Losing it All
Not too long ago I experienced one of the toughest setbacks in my career. It was the moment I lost 2.5 years of every design and every photo I had ever made.
Let me take you back a step… It gets worse.
My best friend was getting married abroad in Barcelona but decided to have a small gathering in Canada for those that couldn’t make the trip. He reached out to me to be his photographer for the event. Of course, without hesitation, I said yes excited to capture their special day. The day went off without a hitch, and unlike most of the weddings I’ve shot (as I’m not the biggest fan), this was by far one where I came out feeling accomplished and proud of my images.
A few weeks later I got a message from Apple saying my iMac had a hard drive recall and that I should come in for a replacement free of charge. I backed up my drive as I always do, using Time Machine, but forgot the additional manual backup on a 2nd external drive. I know. This is where you go (as I have many, many, many times already), that’s where you fucked up buddy… the root of your problem was right there. And you’re right — but! Technically my Time Machine which is a clone of my hard drive should have worked.
So as you can guess, I got the hard drive swapped out and lo and behold, when I goto reinstall everything, all my work was gone. POOF! I was gutted, my heart sank, I felt like passing out, crying and pooping my pants all at the same time. The worst part of it all was I couldn’t stop thinking about how I just lost my best friend’s wedding photos. Their memories, their moment, gone because of a lazy mistake.
I had the awkward talk with the couple, decided to spend $200 and do a disk recover on the external which managed to find a handful of photos — also meaning it had backed up at some point, but Time Machine had gone and messed up. Another point that has me befuddled. But the aftermath of it all had me in a whirlwind, I had zero photos or design pieces to update my portfolio, it was essentially as if I had done nothing for 2.5 years. I lost all interest in my work, felt like I wanted to give up, and I did for a moment there. It was very, very tough.
I then came across this post from Rex Crowle on Instagram. If you don’t know who that is, he’s the illustrator/creator of Little Big Planet. I reached out to him to see how he overcame his similar loss, and he had some simple, sage advice:
The best thing I can say is that you will have grown as an artist/human from doing all that work, and you can never loose that experience, and you’ll be able to do even better work in the future because of it.
So what’s to be learned from all this. Firstly, and most obvious, backup all your files, regularly. I’ve purchased a 3rd hard drive, and also invested in an online plan with Crashplan, (which I may be switching to an Amazon Drive + Arq Backup combo). Secondly, and something I hadn’t anticipated before, was to share more. This has helped in two-fold, one you get more eyes out on your work and two you’re leaving a footprint of work should you happen to not have backed up previous work.
Sometimes it takes you losing it all to realize what you had and to grow bigger and better… but the real moral is to backup always! ALWAYS! Seriously, go backup your files after you read this!
♕ ♕ ♕
Originally published at Akbar Ahmad.