Digital Photo Sprawl

It’s amazing to me how fast digital photos seem to accumulate, everywhere. They end up in my phone and on my computer. This doesn’t even include many online places like Google Drive, Dropbox, emails, or social media.

Unfortunately, dealing with the sprawl takes time, commitment, and a lot of patience. This is partially because of the volume. And partially because of how difficult it can be to search for and sort images. Although many apps now exist to help sort, label, and categorize photos automatically. However, the date can also be problematic.

Many apps use the date as a way to group photos. Humans use this too, even though we often forget the exact date something happened. This is especially true when we all take photos so often. Also, some systems use the date of upload or transfer rather than the capture date.

WhatsApp Sent Photo Sprawl

Recently I discovered that my phone automatically saves photos I’ve sent through WhatsApp. At first I was puzzled why extra photos appeared when I connected my phone to my computer for uploading. For example, my phone indicated I had 500 pictures, but my computer would detect 600. After some investigating, I discovered why. My phone saved photos sent through WhatsApp. Even more annoying, my phone, or maybe WhatsApp, renamed all the photos. This means detecting duplicates is not easy.

To clarify, photos I receive through WhatsApp messages are saved, too. They are saved directly into a folder in my phone’s photo app. The photos I send, however, end up somewhere else. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out where. Or how to disable the automatic save in the settings. When I searched online for an answer, everything was about managing the received photos.

It’s pretty annoying for a few reasons. It requires a lot of time to go through the duplicates manually to remove them. Uploading, reviewing, and organizing photos takes longer because of the hidden extras. Plus it takes up precious storage space.

I’m still trying to figure out where, or how, my phone stores all the sent WhatsApp images. Until then, I chip away at the sprawl little by little. True to my deletist nature, I try to review photos immediately after taking them to weed out the bad ones.

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