PDA

View Full Version : Is this a resurrection of the old Light Impressions



Deane Johnson
20-Aug-2014, 12:58
I received a catalog today from a company named Archival Museum Supplies based in San Diego. It looks just like the old Light Impressions catalogs with most of the same things in it.

I'm thinking they got my name from an old Light Impressions list. I remember paying for a lifetime subscription to their catalogs back in the 1970s.

I remember someone in California buying the Light Impressions company some years ago, then it seemed to fall apart.

Does anyone know if someone has resurrected the company or product lines. The product line looks almost identical.

Arne Croell
20-Aug-2014, 13:51
I don't know that one; if its based on the last California-based version of Light Impressions, I would be cautious. I've been quite happy with "Archival Methods" http://www.archivalmethods.com/, headed by the former vice president of the original Rochester-based Light Impressions, and their offerings are pretty similar too.

NER
20-Aug-2014, 16:08
No, AMS (http://archivalmuseumsupplies.com/index.aspx) is not related to Light Impressions; however, AMS used to supply certain products to LI and that is why there is a similarity between LI products and some products seen in the AMS catalog. LI was purchased by FDM Brands (http://www.fdmbrands.com/brands.html), which operates out Rochester, New York. AMS does not supply products to FDM Brands. The last time I spoke with FDM - about 2 months ago - they were unable to say when they might be able to provide the corrugated shipping boxes much coveted by members of this forum (http://www.lightimpressionsdirect.com/shipping-boxes-16-1-4-x-20-1-4-x-7-8/shipping-boxes/). I spoke to AMS today and they said they would look into the availability of those particular shipping boxes.

N. Riley
http://normanrileyphotography.com

Merg Ross
20-Aug-2014, 21:39
No, AMS (http://archivalmuseumsupplies.com/index.aspx) is not related to Light Impressions; however, AMS used to supply certain products to LI and that is why there is a similarity between LI products and some products seen in the AMS catalog. LI was purchased by FDM Brands (http://www.fdmbrands.com/brands.html), which operates out Rochester, New York. AMS does not supply products to FDM Brands. The last time I spoke with FDM - about 2 months ago - they were unable to say when they might be able to provide the corrugated shipping boxes much coveted by members of this forum (http://www.lightimpressionsdirect.com/shipping-boxes-16-1-4-x-20-1-4-x-7-8/shipping-boxes/). I spoke to AMS today and they said they would look into the availability of those particular shipping boxes.

N. Riley
http://normanrileyphotography.com

Just to add to the confusion, my last order for the corrugated shipping boxes that you reference came from Archival Methods out of Rochester (noted by Arne). That was about 18 months ago and I checked with Angela Blauvelt, Archival Methods marketing manager later who said that the supplier was out of business, however she was building a list of interested parties. No word since then. Perhaps those interested here could make a case for renewed production somewhere. I relied on those boxes for many years and am inconvenienced by their disappearance. Anyone else here interested in finding another supplier? Surely there must be a demand.

DavidFisk
28-Aug-2014, 13:19
I got the catalog, too, and was struck by the almost identity with the LI catalog. Perhaps we should keep a keen eye on the operation, and if it turns out to be the antithesis of LI, we should rejoice. Please post your experiences here, both good and bad.

Sal Santamaura
28-Aug-2014, 14:04
I got the catalog, too, and was struck by the almost identity with the LI catalog...As did/was I. There are even a number of illustrations in it that show "Light Impressions" labels on offered products.

A few things in the paper catalog that interest me weren't found on the Web site. Some item numbers for the same things are different in those two places. I was going to place an order, just to see how things went, but, since the thing I want falls into that screwed up category, have now decided to wait for further feedback from others first. Smells bad, but I could be wrong.

Merg Ross
28-Aug-2014, 14:15
I was going to place an order, just to see how things went, but, since the thing I want falls into that screwed up category, have now decided to wait for further feedback from others first. Smells bad, but I could be wrong.

I think you may be right. I placed my catalog in the recycle.

Sal Santamaura
2-Sep-2014, 12:48
I received a catalog today from a company named Archival Museum Supplies based in San Diego. It looks just like the old Light Impressions catalogs with most of the same things in it...Does anyone know if someone has resurrected the company or product lines...As follow up, www.lightimpressionsdirect.com is down now. I don't know if that's a temporary situation or permanent. Nonetheless, it does add to suspicion that Archival Museum Supplies might be the same less-than-ethical entity after yet another cross-country move. Always one step ahead of legal consequences? Please, someone find out definitively. I'd really like a few of their items, but don't dare place an order.

Eric Biggerstaff
2-Sep-2014, 13:36
Based on what Sal posted, I just tried Light Impressions and it was working fine. But, given recent history I would think twice before ordering. Like many here, I switched to Archival Methods several years ago and they have been great so I am sticking with them.

Sal Santamaura
2-Sep-2014, 15:02
As follow up, www.lightimpressionsdirect.com is down now. I don't know if that's a temporary situation or permanent...


Based on what Sal posted, I just tried Light Impressions and it was working fine...Yup, back up again. I guess there are no conclusions to be drawn from what was a temporary situation.

Sal Santamaura
20-Sep-2014, 14:55
Still curious, nine days ago I sent Archival Museum Supplies the following message:


Folks,

I heard about your existence last month via this Large Format Photography forum thread:


http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?115869-Is-this-a-resurrection-of-the-old-Light-Impressions


Your Web site included some items not available elsewhere, which was very interesting. Then, your paper catalog was delivered to my physical mailbox. Even more intriguing, with additional items of interest not found on your Web site. However, after being burned by Light Impressions, and noting that illustrations in your catalog carry the Light Impressions name, I've become very reluctant to place any orders. Therefore, please answer the following questions:


Are you in any way connected with the owners of Light Impressions, whether current or former? If so, what is the connection / business relationship?
Your paper catalog includes item PE 10043, 8x10 Polyester SplitFile Interleaving folders, on page 12, and item PE 10052, 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 Buffered Out-Seal Envelopes, on page 13. Neither of them can be found on your Web site. Do they in reality exist and, if so, how many packages of each do you have in stock for immediate shipment?
Item LS10010, Black Library 1-1/2" D-Ring Album & Slipcase Set - Black, appears both on your Web site and in your paper catalog, with a different Item number (LS1010) on page 47, for $56.97. Do these binders include the pull tab illustrated? Are the dimensions quoted accurate? How many sets do you have in stock for immediate shipment?
Is it possible to place an order in person at your location for immediate payment and pickup?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Regards,

Sal Santamaura

I have received no reply to date. Note that I was willing to drive an hour and make a personal appearance if necessary. It is still very suspicious to me; unless and until they respond satisfactorily, I'll place no orders.

Norman Riley: have you had any further contact and/or dealings with this firm?

NER
20-Sep-2014, 17:26
Hello Sal. I have not had any direct contact with them lately. I did try to call them a few days ago with the intent of discussing concerns raised in this forum and my own interest in particular products, but all my calls were immediately redirected to an overflow mailbox "due to high call volume," a claim I found rather hard to believe at the time. I did speak to one of their representatives earlier and the information reported in my previous post here was based partly on that phone conversation. I have also spoken with FDM Brands more than once. They readily admit that they purchased LI and hope to turn that company (or some remnant of it) around. They also said they hope to resume the sale of those much-coveted corrugated shipping boxes. It has been several weeks since my last conversation with FDM. I continue to think that AMS is not a reincarnation of LI as some here want to believe, but was merely one of several suppliers to LI. When I mentioned those shipping boxes to AMS they seemed interested in filling that need and I assured them that they would likely be inundated with requests for those boxes if they decided to supply them. On a separate but related note, the last time I spoke with a live person at AMS, I asked for a catalog and was promised that one would be shipped to me, but I have not yet received one and that is more than a little discouraging to me. I did tell them about the talk going on here vis--vis their company and they seemed interested in that news as well. They asked me several times whether I had lost any money through unfilled orders to LI (the implication was that they would try to make good on such losses to some degree, if possible) but I never had that unfortunate experience with LI (LI refunded my $$ for items on extended "backorder") and therefore cannot say what AMS really will or will not do about losses suffered in dealings with LI for products supplied by AMS itself. It does seem a little odd that AMS would try to cover those losses (you can't help but wonder why they would do that if they are not a successor to LI as they claim - and yes, I asked that question directly), but their claim of being a separate entity seems plausible in light of what FDM says about itself, and it seems consistent with observations made here about product branding, so I continue to give AMS the benefit of the doubt for now. The questions you posed to AMS are very good questions and I, along with many others here, will be interested to read their answers.

N. Riley
http://normanrileyphotography.com

Merg Ross
20-Sep-2014, 18:15
Re the coveted corrugated shipping boxes, I received an email from Sara McCheyne @ FDM (LI) on 9/9/14 in response to my query of 9/3/14: "Unfortunately we do not have the item in stock. It may be a few more months until we get them". Sounds all too familiar.

Thanks for your updates.

Merg

RichardT
22-Jan-2016, 15:53
Dear All,

I think I can help a bit with the confusion here. The quoted address for Archival Museum Supplies, as well as Archival Albums & Photo Pages and Pieces in Places is 2498 Roll Drive, Suite 1618, San Diego, CA 92154. The catalog for Archival Albums & Photo Pages, although more compact, looks remarkably similar to the old Light Impressions catalog. The key here, however, is the given address. A Google aerial view shows this to be a US Port of Entry trucking facility on the U.S., side of the U.S. - Mexico border. It is clearly not a manufacturing facility. Whether it actual is subdivided into warehousing is debatable.

Over 2 years ago I placed an order with Archival Albums & Photo Pages for sheet lifters and a combination package of LI type Photoguard pages. The sheet lifters were sent, but not the Photoguard pages. At about the same time, FDM in Rochester, NY, claimed that they had the rights to sell Light Impressions products. Instead of going back to Mexico for production, they went to China. Things went extremely slowly as they tried to get the manufacturing set up and so I waited patiently for the "real" Light Impressions to surface.

Each year, Archival Albums & Photo Pages would issue a new catalog, giving hope against hope that they would, indeed, turn out the needed Photoguard type pages. When I received the latest catalog, I gave them a call and reminded them that I was still awaiting fulfillment of my order, explaining that I had many albums to fill. Each time I called I talked to a very pleasant young woman who would apologize for the delay and would see to it that I got my pages expedited to me. Nothing happened. But this time, with the prospect of a potential large order to follow, I did get another shipment of the sheet lifters but, alas, no Photoguard pages. The return address on the envelope did provide an additional clue, as the sheet lifters were shipped from Archival, 451 Tecate Road, Tecate, CA 91980. Another Google aerial photo showed this to be a small shipping facility, not a manufacturing facility. A search of the Yellow Pages showed about 8 business facilities associated with this address, apparently all using it to ship out their products. The invoice for the sheet lifters gave the Roll Drive address, but now the company called itself Plastic Retail Displays, LLC.

Next up was a check of the Better Business Bureau for Archival Albums & Photo Pages. The company is not accredited by the BBB. On a scale from F to A+, the BBB gave this company an F. In the last 3 years, there were 7 advertising/sales issues, 7 billing/collection issues, 257 delivery issues, 0 guarantee/warranty issues, and 59 problems with product/service.

The best I can say of this company is that it may be able to supply some items that Light Impressions used to supply. Since receiving the sheet lifters, I have received 3 calls from the company. The first was from a man who offered me a 10% discount on anything I ordered in the next 90 days, presumably as an incentive to buy a lot of Photoguard type pages (I really do have a lot of binders that need Photoguard pages). The second call was from a polite woman who would again see about getting my Photoguard type pages to me, but then she went on further, trying to pry out of me my credit card information, which I shut down as I had already paid for these pages. When I asked her for her address, she fumbled around, and finally came up with the Roll Drive address. She assured me that it was her company's address and that she was there. Uh, no. Finally, I received a call from a man still wanting me to pursue business with the company. I ended that quickly.

So, now for the good news. After much waiting, FDM finally received a shipment of Photoguard pages, of which I immediately ordered a sampling. I received them a couple of days ago and the quality is excellent. The Mexican plant had very inconsistent quality, with the pages frequently being wavy. These from China are flat. Beautiful. See next reply for contact information.

Regards,
RichardT

RichardT
22-Jan-2016, 16:00
Dear All,

I wasn't trying to be cute - my original message exceeded the capacity for a single message.

Contact information for Light Impressions is as follows:

Light Impressions
100 Carlson Rd.
Rochester, NY 14610
1-800-975-6429
http://www.lightimpressionsdirect.com

Regards,
RichardT

Peter Lewin
22-Jan-2016, 16:25
The company which seems to be closest to Light Impressions in terms of both products and location is Archival Methods, www.archivalmethods.com. which is located in Henrietta, NY (which I think is near Rochester, but I haven't looked it up). Archival Methods carries many similar products to Light Impressions; I have twice met their rep at the PhotoPro Expo in NYC, and on several occasions have ordered matte board (2- and 4-ply) as well as storage boxes and interleaving paper. The transactions all went through smoothly, and the product quality is high. From my perspective, they are an excellent replacement for Light Impressions, which many of us stopped using because of problematic service. Given their location, and the similarities in their catalogs, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the employees or founders of Archival Methods had worked at or with Light impressions, but to repeat, Archival Methods is a different company with none of the problems we were experiencing with L.I.

Winger
22-Jan-2016, 17:33
This place - http://lumierephoto.com - has been great for getting some of the stuff I used to get from Light Impressions. The matboard is the same as the old stuff, I think.

RichardT
22-Jan-2016, 18:12
Dear Peter and Winger,

Somewhere along the line the size and holes in the sheet lifters were changed. The sheet lifters were reduced in size and the holes changed from round to elongated. Those familiar with the Photoguard pages know that, at least for the pages that hold 4" x 6" photos, the pages will tend to sag if the albums are stored upright. I use 2 sheet lifters to minimize this sag. The new design, which is smaller, defeats this purpose. Further, with elongated holes, one can't count on the album rings to keep the photo lifters, themselves, from sagging. I mentioned my concerns in this area to Light Impressions.

In the meantime, I ordered today the 2 available sheet lifters offered by Archival Methods based on recommendations in this thread. The size is right, but, alas, the holes are elongated. If anyone knows of where I might obtain versions with round holes, I'd much appreciate it.

Perhaps Lumier Photo offers what I need. Winger? I am always happy to learn of alternative sources. The key points of my messages were that the company/companies that give their address as being on Roll Drive have an extremely dubious business track record and that Light Impressions, owned by FDM, is trying to make a comeback. Both of you mention packing material. Reproducing Photoguard pages, I would think, is an extra order of complexity. It took FDM about 2 years to get to this point.

Regards,
RichardT

MikeH
22-Jan-2016, 18:18
The company which seems to be closest to Light Impressions in terms of both products and location is Archival Methods, www.archivalmethods.com. ... The transactions all went through smoothly, and the product quality is high. From my perspective, they are an excellent replacement for Light Impressions, ... Archival Methods is a different company with none of the problems we were experiencing with L.I.

I've only had one small transaction with Archival Methods, but I can "second" Peter's experience.

biedron
22-Jan-2016, 23:35
I have ordered from Archival Methods multiple times; never any issues whatsoever.

Bob

DennisD
22-Jan-2016, 23:50
I've only had one small transaction with Archival Methods, but I can "second" Peter's experience.

I've placed several orders with Archival Methods. All were shipped promptly and without issue. Whenever I've called, live customer service is available - no voicemail during business hours.

After reading some of the foregoing comments, I would keep a safe distance from any company resembling or related to Light Impressions, relies on voicemail during business hours or does not provide prompt response to customer inquiries.

Robert Bowring
23-Jan-2016, 06:13
I received the same catalog yesterday and also thought it looked very much like the old Light Impressions. I would be very careful of dealing with them until I hear some good stuff about them. If anyone has any experience with them please tell us about it. They have several items I would like to order. I have also had very good experience with Archival Methods. Good products and good service.

Eric Biggerstaff
23-Jan-2016, 08:14
Archival Methods is great, never a problem with shipping or the quality of the products. Highly recommended. You can get Archival Methods products from B&H but I would just go to the company site and order direct.

RichardT
23-Jan-2016, 10:49
Dear Robert,

By saying "the same catalog", I presume that you are referring to the Archival Albums & Photo Pages catalog. I'd steer clear of this company. Archival Methods is a completely different company. I do thank everyone for their expressed support for this company. As for Light Impressions, the name of this website is Large Format Photography and my interest in this case is just the opposite, i.e., in obtaining Photoguard pages for the better than 100 albums I had specially made for me by the former Light Impressions - mainly those for 4" x 6" photos.

The only 2 companies supposedly offering these were Archival Albums & Photo Pages and FDM, which said they owned the rights to the former Light Impressions. The 2 companies took very different approaches to selling the product. Archival Albums & Photo Pages were all too willing to take my money up front for products that they never delivered. On the other hand, FDM was far more upfront and I periodically got verbal updates on the progress in getting the Photoguard pages manufactured in China. For at least 2 years, neither company had the pages. Like a slow turtle, FDM had been slowly working on resolving the manufacturing problem and, as I said, last week finally received shipments of the products to sell, which were first rate.

A bit about me. I'm a retired research engineer and have had as a lifetime hobby an interest in the German jet plane from WW II, the Messerschmitt Me 262. I have collected documents, plans, and a huge number of photos over the years. Some lend themselves to the 8" x 10" format, while others, due to their enormous volume, are better printed out as 4" x 6" prints - thus the interest in the Photoguard pages. The 8" x 10" photos are enhanced and printed out for me by a professional photographer friend who has a 17" wide roll paper printer. Eventually, my collection will go to the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Thus, I have had to focus on making sure that my photo collection is in archivally safe materials. Because light exposure can deteriorate photo quality over time, the best way to preserve the photos is in albums kept out of the light.

Regards,
RichardT

JWebb
23-Jan-2016, 17:26
I believe that Lumiere Photo is run by the founder and some of the staff of the Original Light Impressions. Although they have moved into offering Digital Printing and services they still do offer archival supplies, just not as extensive as the old Light Impressions. Not sure if they offer Photoguard pages.

RichardT
23-Jan-2016, 19:07
Dear JWebb,

I checked and Lumiere Photo doesn't offer Photoguard pages. So, the only true game in town for these is the resurrected Light Impressions in Rochester. At least someone can now supply them. The pages match the albums and vice versa. Lacking one or the other makes the one in hand useless. My expenditure for over 100 specially sized albums was quite sizable.

For me, it was also very important that both the albums and pages were archivally safe. Polyester is the gold standard for photo pages. Polypropylene is less so, but still acceptable. Vinyl is a definite no-no. The album materials also have to be archivally safe. I use 3-ring binders for the 8" x 10" photos. Most 3-ring binders made today are made of vinyl, so, for the 8" x 10" photo albums, I hunted around and finally found a source of polypropylene binders. The pages for these were specially made to my specifications and are made of 4 mil polyester.

Regards,
RichardT

Tom Niblick
8-Mar-2016, 14:42
Archival Museum Supplies looks to be a very sketchy outfit. After a woman from Light Impressions told me that they were having stocking trouble (financial difficulties), I ordered a museum case from AMS in November 2015 and when it did not arrive by the middle of December, I called to cancel the order - three times. I kept getting their voice mail. I left my cancelation request each time. I also sent several emails. I purchased another case from Amazon, checked my credit card statements to make sure I was not charged and then forgot about this company and order. Two down.
The case arrived at my doorstep in March. I called several times to get a return authorization and it sounded like I was talking to a call center in India. And each time someone answered announcing a different company name. They offered a discount to get me to keep the case but I was not comfortable giving them my credit card information again. Then someone named "Ivan" called back with a Russian accent demanding my credit card number. Yeah, right.
So I just emailed them back asking for a return label. Nothing has arrived so far.
Now Ivan and crew might be legitimate and shame on me for not trusting someone with an accent who answers the phone with the name of a different company, but until I know better, I'll shop elsewhere.

tedcorp
28-Jun-2016, 15:31
I made the mistake of ordering some supplies from Archival Museum Supplies last February and still have not received the complete order. It took 4 months to eventually get part of the order but 2 items were incorrect. They were returned but AMS refuses to reimburse me. Throughout this ordeal I have been lied to by customer service people all along the way. The excuses have been outrageous and I always got 2 different lies, one from their online customer service and one from calling their customer service number. This business is a fraud and everyone working there is a pathological liar. They are currently under investigation by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. The alleged address of their business is nothing more than a mailbox where they conduct their fraudulent business.

scheinfluger_77
28-Jun-2016, 16:08
I'll add my kudos for Archival Methods. I recently made two orders from them, my first, and they came quickly and well packaged.

RichardT
28-Jun-2016, 17:50
Dear All,

Either sheet lifter type from Archival Methods meets my needs, save for the elongated holes, but that is a somewhat of a small price to have to pay. For those looking for PhotoGuard pages, FDM is the place to go. Forget about the San Diego outfit. FDM doesn't have everything yet that is in their on-line catalog. It's been a long slog for them and those of us who have wondered if we might ever be able to buy Light Impressions products from a legitimate business. It is too bad that the San Diego outfit has sullied the waters and created apprehension for anyone supposedly selling what used to be in the Light Impressions catalog.

Regards,
RichardT

Vaughn
28-Jun-2016, 19:29
Archival Methods is a fine company. I have had excellent experiences with Conservation Resources International. All my LF negatives and prints are stored in their products (who I believe, manufacture some of the items sold by Archival Methods). http://www.conservationresources.com/