Reflections on the digital age, cleanliness, and the voice of the oppressor

Jan 27, 2023 | 4 comments

It’s 6:04 AM.

I’ve been up reading the wonderful anthology of travel essays: Unforgettable Journeys: Great writers on great places,” wherein I discovered two bookmarks, one a photographic print of an abstract image I had created ten years ago that I like less now than I did then. And a crisp new $20 bill which was bookmarking Robert Hughes essay “Portrait of the City as Genius”, a reflection on Barcelona. At the moment I am reflecting on how much I enjoy reading a real book, it’s tactile feel, the smell of the paper and ink, my ability to re-read a paragraph two or three times to drink in the essence rather than hurry through it as is demanded by digital devices because “There is something better waiting.“

I glance up to see my figure staring back an me from an extremely dusty iMac computer screen. My first knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk) reaction is to clean it, my second thought is to remember what the American writer Anne Lamont said about perfectionism: “It is the voice of the oppressor.” Thanks Annie, I always love an easy way out.

My last thought before posting this is: at least five people will like it …. the rest of the world will go wanting. 😺🤠


American-born photographer Thomas Ives has worked for international news and feature magazines for over 38 years. His photo essays and images have appeared in National Geographic, Time, Geo, Stern, Newsweek, Life, Smithsonian, and many others publications. He lives in Vilcabamba with his Ecuadorian partner. For more about Thomas, click here.

Thomas Ives may be contacted at and more of his work may be seen on his Instagram account: thomas_h_ives 

Thomas Ives

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