There is no need for our usual, macho / martial use of language. No need to KILL our darlings. Just discard them, or “delete” as my camera says.
I notice with myself — and suspect I am not alone in this — how hard it can be to part even from pictures I never would call “darling”. The reasoning in the bestseller “Clear your clutter” by Karen Kingston — namely: If the thing does not make you happy when you look at it, it lowers your energy, so get rid of it — can be applied to photographs as well.
When I ask myself “Why have you kept thousands of non-successful pictures of birds?” I don´t know what to say. It´s not like there was a reason for it. It just happened that way. I kept them in some naive hope that they might come in handy some day (the same reason we hold on to books, CD-s and hundreds of other unnecessary, energy-lowering things in our homes).
Last year I took a crash-course in throwing away things. The reason I have not applied this to photos is that they take so little space. But when hard disks fill up you realize that even photos take space.
Just as noise competes with and steals from signal, the poor or mediocre pictures steal from the stunning ones. Besides, it is an almost dangerous sentimentality that makes you (at least me) hold on to things quite obviously imperfect, if not downright lousy.
Let go of them and save only the very best. The REAL darlings.