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The Meaning in a Drawer Full of Old Family Snapshots

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Biro, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I've been back online for close to a week now, my cyber activities having been curtailed - nay, halted - by Hurricane Sandy. We were lucky enough to have sustained no damage to our home (we're about 20 miles from the beach) but we were without power, Internet and cell service for about a week. But Sandy's effects here on the Jersey Shore allowed at least one New York Times reporter to make some observations about photo prints and their role in our culture. From today's (November 17, 2012) edition, the Business Day section:

    The Meaning in a Drawer Full of Old Family Snapshots - NYTimes.com
     
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  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I worked in custom photo labs for 30 years, and some of my favorite work was shooting 4x5 copy negatives of old photos and then making the best prints I knew how to make. All that work is done digitally now, with a lot of advantages in that, and I have done many digital jobs too.

    The point is: these really are the most important photographs we take. They speak of the love people have for each other, and sometimes tell a bit about their shared lives. Try to look at old photos in a flea market or antique mall. You don't know the people, but it's hard not to be moved. Someone saved and cherished the pictures until -- what? A family line ran to its end? Who know? But it moves us anyway. At least it moves me.
     
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  3. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Over the last two years I have been on a hunt for every single photograph either taken of me, or by me, between the ages of 1 and 21. There are not that many at all! But I've come across a few treasures that I didn't even know I had, like an undeveloped roll of 110 in an old camera I used when I was 12, and an undeveloped Fuji disc film! When the 110 cartridge was developed, I had some very faded photos of the house I grew up in and my best friend at the time, so I was incredibly happy with that. The disc film is still yet to be developed, as there is nothing in Australia that can handle it, and there are only a couple of places advertising such services online.

    But I also found a sheaf of photos I took of friends at school when I was 13, and the prints have held up pretty well over the years. I intend to scan and enhance them very soon, along with a few others that were taken for me when I was 17. It's funny that the absolute glut of digital photos I have taken over the last ten years give me pleasure, but the printed photos from the pre digital days make me squeal with delight. I can count on one hand the number of prints I have made of my digital photographs, interestingly. I'm quite happy to view them on a monitor and regularly back them up to larger and better storage media, and store copies in separate locations. In the future I'll have a number of photos printed, but at the moment I'm still deciding which will be the ones!
     
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  4. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    For me, the article is a reminder to not put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to my photos. While I have some on CDs, DVDs and hard drives, I should investigate using a photo website as well. It appears no one who put their mages up on a site like Shutterfly lost them to Sandy. But I also really need to print more (but not all) of my favorites - even if only at the local Target or drug store.

    If something happens to me, many of the luddites (young and old) in my family will have no idea where to look or how to retrieve most of my digital images. I suspect most wouldn't even bother - even if they would likely be delighted by what they might find.

    As an aside, while this won't solve the problem of changing digital formats or the need to migrate one's images periodically, here's one source of discs that promises to eliminate the fear of corrupted or failed CDs and DVDs in the short-to-medium term:

    MAM-A Inc., The Gold Standard
     
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  5. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Speaking of corrupted DVDs, I made an unfortunate discovery the other day. Five or six years ago my best friend got married, and he gave me a copy of his wedding photos on a DVD. I looked at that DVD last week only to find that it now registers as a blank disc on the computer! There are no marks on the DVD, the substrate looks intact, but it is just dead. On the other hand, he just had a massive print made of a film photograph I took at his wedding using the Contax T3 and Fuji Pro400H professional portrait film.

    DVD's are simply not large enough to handle backup for me now. I use Western Digital external drives, 2TB and larger, and they are cheap enough to have two drives per backup set. As HDD's become cheaper and larger, I just migrate everything to new storage media every few years.