My Decade Or More Of Lost Photos

As I’ve been thinking lately about the tenth anniversary year of my old nonprofit, I’ve been looking back at my old photos of the goats. I’ve had to do this on Flickr, because my originals are on an old Iomega drive.

The versions on Flickr tend to have a giant watermark on them, and I really want to get ahold of the originals and their original Lightroom edits (although I’d still be using Lightroom 4 to get to them), so I dug the drive out of storage.

It doesn’t power up.

It’s not the cable, as I got a new one overnight from Amazon and it works on other drives and devices.

I can’t get to these photos. There’s at least a decade of photos on there that I cannot access.

This is not an April Fool’s Day prank.

I doubt it’s the drive itself. I suspect it’s the drive’s power system, or some element of it. I’m wondering whether or not some version of this approach is feasible, because paying for expensive data recovery services is out of the question, even though technically my photographs are priceless.

Today I was reading Nick Heer on photos and iCloud, and despite the specifics of Heer’s particular headache, in a magic-wand world where I’d won the lottery, my preferred photos solution would be a headless Mac Mini, maxed out on storage, and everything in the Photos app syncing to iCloud. I’d set Photos on that device to keep all originals.

That’s as out of reach as data recovery for the Iomega, and just sort of generally now as I sit here unable to get into that drive, mostly I’m just heading into yet another depression out of frustration over how many problems easily are solved with money, and how few problems are not solvable at all without it.

Really my whole life is defined by that, and it’s becoming pretty exhausting.


  1. So, I took the drive out of its housing and played with different power options—it’s technically USB off the laptop, but that wasn’t working despite working in the past; I’ve also sent part of the split USB cable to power directly from the outlet—including briefly trading the power component with another drive.

    At any rate, outside its housing, I can get it to power up and spin, but it doesn’t ever appear in Finder or in Disk Utility. Inside its housing, even with the same power cable arrangement, it won’t even power up, which is deeply confounding to me.

  2. Now I’m seeing some forums chatter that a bunch of Seagate drives (it’s an Iomega but Seagate under the hood) basically just stopped working under macOS Monterey and above? What the fuck am I supposed to do about that?

  3. Someone with a similar Seatgate/Monterey problem solved it using a Thunderbolt cable, which seems strange to me but I’ve ordered something to try that will be here tomorrow. Absent a solve via cable, the only other option is to find someone with a Mac they never upgraded beyond whatever preceded Monterey.

Referring posts