iPhoto – The Neutron Bomb of Past Relationships

Jack Welch, the former Chairman and CEO of the GE corporation, was know amongst his industry peers as ‘Neutron Jack’. The reason being, is because when he finished Neutron Bombrestructuring a company, the only thing left standing was the building. The reference is to that of a neutron bomb, which destroys all biological material (people), while leaving everything else intact.  I found another use for this reference when it comes to iPhoto and previous relationships.

I have an Apple TV which I use to display slide shows on the big screen in my living room of the photos kept on my Mac.  What I have found is that while this is an extremely useful feature, it can cause some concern when you have a date over and photos of you and your ex are dancing about on the screen.

Of course, the first instinct is to just exclude the photos sets that contain pictures of my ex.  However, that destroys most of the photos that have been taken over the last year.  Using such blunt tactics would literally leave a ‘photo hole’ in my life for nearly a twelve-month period.  I knew there had to be a better way and, after a little tinkering, I found it.

The latest release of iPhoto comes with a feature called ‘Faces‘.  This feature culls through your photo collection, or any new photos you upload, and does its best to recognize and tag the people in the picture.  It works fairly well (after some training), but I won’t get into a review here.   The feature is intended to allow the user to be able to quickly pull up all pictures in your collection that contain specific, or groups of, people.  So, for example, you can create a ‘Smart Album’ of only photos that contain your mom and dad.  iPhoto will look through your collection and pull out any photos that contain a person tagged as your dad and one tagged as your mom.  If it’s just of your mom (0r dad) it won’t show.

Getting back on point, I wondered why I couldn’t do this in reverse.  I wanted to set up an album that contained only photos that didn’t have my ex in them, but still left in pictures of the events and places that we were at.  So, I went into the parameter settings of creating a Smart Album and, lo and behold, there was a setting for ‘Face’ and ‘Is Not’.  I typed in my ex-girlfriend’s name and BAM!  Back were all the weddings we went to, without a shot of her in sight.  Back were the birthday parties we attended, minus the shots of me and her standing next to each other.  Even showing up were the pictures of when she moved into her house, only showing me carrying some boxes!

With this feature, I was able to ‘surgically remove’ her from the pictures in my past without losing the memories of being there.  Sure, I’ll remember that she was a part of it, but at least I don’t have to explain to the new girl sitting on the couch next to me who that is that I’m kissing on the beach.

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