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Old 12-15-2016, 09:25 AM   #1
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Picture Albums of the past

Question for all you photographers out there.

I started snapping pictures with an SLR at the age of 19. I am a competent photographer-hobbyist, but not winning any prizes. All for fun. I am now 54.

I have several albums, but truly only meaningful to me, of my early photo days including college, backpacking through Europe, and days with first wife.

First wife ones are easy if I hand them off to my daughter from that union, now 18, may want to wrap in plastic for a more mature birthday. 18 is not quite there yet, I think. It's Christmas time, and I may drop a small album on her in the present-mix.

College friends I have lost touch with, and memory of, I will probably toss and keep the me and family pictures for my kids. The Europe album I do not wish to dismantle as its kind of a story. (Reagan era, Berlin wall, Morocco, etc)

Scanning 2000 photos has occurred to me, but I won't do this on my own scanner (I think) and debate if I should do a bulk scan (shoebox-scan) which may run about $150 per box.

Any other elder photographer have the toss-or-keep-until-you're-dead dilemma? Any creative solutions?

Would love to hear others' thoughts.
Thanks!
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Old 12-15-2016, 10:08 AM   #2
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I scanned several thousand negatives in 2006 using an Epson 4490 scanner. I copied onto DVD's and made a couple sets. The scanner was less than $200 at the time and had great software for the negatives that needed a little touch up. It has a tray that holds about 16 (?) negatives. The software stores them individually. We still use the scanner but now for documents.
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Old 12-15-2016, 10:24 AM   #3
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Depending on how much you have to pay you can bring your photo to a lab where they will scan these for you and create you a CD or put this on a memory card. Usually they have professional high end scanners that give a far more result than consumer ones, but quality comes at a price. After this I would say upload all of these online onto a private repository like google drive so you are sure you will never loose them in case the CD degrade.
I work in the past with a photographer in a museum and we got hundreds of photo from beginning of last century scanned to preserve them, we tried home scanner but lab was the preferred way regarding the high quality. Will depends on what you want to do with your picture I guess.
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Old 12-15-2016, 10:29 AM   #4
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I setup a little jig that positioned my iPhone completely flat and the right distance from a table surface, then I slid old photos underneath and captured them with the iPhone camera. The quality was surprisingly very good! And it was a lot faster than scanning.

And if you use iPhoto, you get free storage for photos taken with your iPhone.
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Old 12-16-2016, 03:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the good ideas! I will try the iphone suggestion.
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:22 PM   #6
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I have an android tablet and phone with Camscanner. It seems to work well and allows you to save as jpg or pdf. You might not even need to remove the photos from the album.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:20 PM   #7
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If you're thinking of going digital for long term storage of your photographs, better think again.

Computers are grand things, and over time will silently fix files corrupted by "bit rot"...until...one day the corruption exceeds the programs ability to "fix" things, and your photo is now a garbled mess.

The only real way to have a relatively permanent (depending on how one defines that term) copy of a digital photograph is to print it.

The other issue is that how you digitize them today may be as obsolete as 8 track tapes in a few years.

Here's a quick quote from a pretty good article on the subject:

Quote:
Yet we overlook — at our peril — just how unstable and transient much of this information is. Amid the proliferation there is also constant decay: phenomena such as “bit rot” (the degradation of software programs over time), “data rot” (the deterioration of digital storage media) and “link rot” (web links pointing to online resources that have become permanently unavailable) can render information inaccessible. This affects everything from holiday photos and email correspondence to official records...
https://www.ft.com/content/907fe3a6-...6-cddde55ca122
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Old 12-17-2016, 06:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
If you're thinking of going digital for long term storage of your photographs, better think again
Your post seems to have two principal concerns:

i) The location (online, hard drive, CD etc) where you store digital files may cease to exist.

ii) The digital files will slowly become corrupted and thus unusable.

I understand the first proposition - CD's get damaged, computers malfunction and digital storage companies go out of business. But is there any solid evidence that my photos and memoirs stored on a CD or GoogleDrive will turn to digital mush in a few years? If so, who did the research and where is it to be found?
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shoalwaters View Post
Your post seems to have two principal concerns:

i) The location (online, hard drive, CD etc) where you store digital files may cease to exist.

ii) The digital files will slowly become corrupted and thus unusable.

I understand the first proposition - CD's get damaged, computers malfunction and digital storage companies go out of business. But is there any solid evidence that my photos and memoirs stored on a CD or GoogleDrive will turn to digital mush in a few years? If so, who did the research and where is it to be found?
Hi there,

As a large format film photographer I admittedly carry a bias against some aspects of digital photography. I'm not totally against digital though, as I'm considering polymer photogravure which has several intermediate steps (negative scanning and digital printing for the etching plate) going from film to etching ink on cotton rag paper via an intaglio press.

A big concern for me is knowing what I produce will survive long term if handled and/or stored properly. This is one of the reasons why photogravure is so appealing; if stored properly images will last potentially thousands, not hundreds of years.

Here's some extracts from an article entitled, "Digital preservation: a time bomb for Digital Libraries" by Margaret Hedstrom, Associate Prosfessor in the School of Information and Libary Studies at the University of Michigan.

Link to article at bottom if you want to read the whole thing.

Quote:
Digital preservation raises challenges of a fundamentally different nature which are added to the problems of preserving traditional format materials. By digital preservation, I mean the planning, resource allocation, and application of preservation methods and technologies necessary to ensure that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable...

Recording media for digital materials are vulnerable to deterioration and catastrophic loss, and even under ideal conditions they are short lived relative to traditional format materials. Although archivists have been battling acid-based papers, thermo-fax, nitrate film, and other fragile media for decades, the threat posed by magnetic and optical media is qualitatively different. They are the first reusable media and they can deteriorate rapidly, making the time frame for decisions and actions to prevent loss is a matter of years, not decades...

Most librarians and archivists have accepted the basic wisdom -- for now at least -- that digital preservation depends upon copying, not on the survival of the physical media (Lesk). But copying, also referred to as "refreshing" or "migration" is more complex than simply transferring a stream of bits from old to new media or from one generation of systems to the next. Complex and expensive transformations of digital objects often are necessary to preserve digital materials so that they remain authentic representations of the original versions and useful sources for analysis and research (Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information)...

Probably the most commonly used preservation strategy is to transfer digital information from less stable magnetic and optical media by printing page images on paper or microfilm. It seems ironic that just as libraries and archives are discovering digital conversion as a cost-effective preservation method for certain deteriorating materials, much information that begins its life in electronic form is printed on paper or microfilm for safe, secure long-term storage. Yet, high-quality acid neutral paper can last a century or longer while archival quality microfilm is projected to last 300 years or more. Paper and microfilm have the additional advantage of requiring no special hardware or software for retrieval or viewing. Perhaps this explains why in many digital conversion projects, the digital images serve as a complement to rather than a replacement for the original hard copy materials (Conway, 1994)...

Much remains to be done in research, development, and implementation before we can assume that even a small portion of our digital heritage will survive more than a few years. It is fair to say that the state of development in digital preservation remains largely experimental. Only a few libraries, archives, and other institutions have established digital preservation programs, while most research and innovation comes from pilot projects and prototypes. Tested methods that have proven effective on a small scale in a limited number of repositories are not feasible for preservation of many of the types of digital materials that archives and libraries will confront in their preservation endeavors.
Mass storage and long-term preservation
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
Hi there,

As a large format film photographer I admittedly carry a bias against some aspects of digital photography. I'm not totally against digital though, as I'm considering polymer photogravure which has several intermediate steps (negative scanning and digital printing for the etching plate) going from film to etching ink on cotton rag paper via an intaglio press.

A big concern for me is knowing what I produce will survive long term if handled and/or stored properly. This is one of the reasons why photogravure is so appealing; if stored properly images will last potentially thousands, not hundreds of years.

Here's some extracts from an article entitled, "Digital preservation: a time bomb for Digital Libraries" by Margaret Hedstrom, Associate Prosfessor in the School of Information and Libary Studies at the University of Michigan.

Link to article at bottom if you want to read the whole thing.

Mass storage and long-term preservation
Maybe I am being simplistic but it would seem to me libraries should follow same policies as corporations and have Data Backups, Disaster Recovery Plans/Continuity of Operations Plans and also ongoing technology evolution assessments. Not sure I am buying this academic argument on the short life of digital media. And microfiche, thermo fax, etc was not digital media.
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:43 AM   #11
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Maybe I am being simplistic but it would seem to me libraries should follow same policies as corporations and have Data Backups, Disaster Recovery Plans/Continuity of Operations Plans and also ongoing technology evolution assessments. Not sure I am buying this academic argument on the short life of digital media. And microfiche, thermo fax, etc was not digital media.
Sure, sounds great for institutions, but onerous for ones own personal photographs and a far cry from the shoe box of negatives or photo albums of the past that you could put in a closet and forget about for 50 years. Point being, digital photograph files are not "archival".

Her comments about thermo fax etc were examples of pre-digital storage media of dubious permanence.

Also, it's not in the best interest of digital camera manufacturers to highlight the long term instability of digital files...
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:46 PM   #12
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Another article from the Getty about bit rot and digital decay: Saving Electronic Records from Rot and Decay | The Getty Iris
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