It dawned on me when I started feeling this idea: This is how we mentally process all imagery now, how we think about everything. We almost always now ingest a thing as part of another thing—a node in a stream or feed. A bit among many other bits. Then we start organizing and sorting and tagging it in our heads. We now think like computers—or perhaps we always have, or they now think like us. Comparative processing is the core of machine-learning and AI. We index, then try to sort, a process that often feels confused by poetry and sentiment.
When I review my archive of tens of thousands of images (could it be hundreds of thousands?), saved over decades, what becomes clear is these are not disparate images, they are facets of one very big mosaic. They are my collection and by extension, they are me—a self-portrait more revealing than any likeness.