PDA

View Full Version : Olditmers... placing your archives with a final repository?



Iluvmyviewcam
5-Feb-2016, 13:47
Olditmers...have you tried to place your archives with a final repository upon your demise?

IanG
5-Feb-2016, 14:06
Olditmers...have you tried to place your archives with a final repository upon your demise?

Tht's quite offensive, have you planned for yourself ? Tell us and then some might answer :D

Ian

Drew Wiley
5-Feb-2016, 16:40
Given the fact that even collections of significant historical interest have trouble finding refuge, and that most museums are already both underfunded and stuffed
to the gills, about the only option left is a significant burial chamber inside a pyramid. Hopefully mine will have a high enough ceiling to entomb my Durst enlargers too.

Kirk Gittings
5-Feb-2016, 16:57
There are a few such here, mainly but not exclusively, the State Photo Archives, who is avidly pursuing noted local fine art and commercial photographers. They have approached me and I am considering it. But I am not ready to hang up my guns yet and have no time or interest to put my archives into some transferable state.

Drew Wiley
5-Feb-2016, 17:29
The wise financial strategy if the IRS might place value on a collection is to designate a certain amount to an institution, analogous to a living trust, effective with
decease. Otherwise, your family might get assessed for the whole collection based upon just a handful of peak sales! It's rare, but has hit certain individuals on
their radar. In the worst cases, some poor widow gets her house seized because some painter suddenly got "discovered" after his death, a painting sold for a ton
of money, and forty are fifty are left at home. The poor dude might not have ever sold one in his own lifetime! Rare, but not impossible. And the widow might
not ever be able to sell the rest of the prints for anything. It could be a fluke sale. Estate planning is always a good idea, and not just a will.

emh
5-Feb-2016, 19:42
In the worst cases, some poor widow gets her house seized because some painter suddenly got "discovered" after his death, a painting sold for a ton
of money, and forty are fifty are left at home. The poor dude might not have ever sold one in his own lifetime! Rare, but not impossible. And the widow might
not ever be able to sell the rest of the prints for anything. It could be a fluke sale.

Can you cite an example where this has happened? Because, it's wrong. If the artist's work was "discovered" after his death, at the time of his death the work had no value. The value of the 40-50 left to his heirs is zero, until he is discovered. Once discovered, his work may go up in value, but would be taxed as capitol gains if/when his heirs make a sale. There's no way the sale of a single piece would result in an assessment which would cause a widow to lose her home.

MikeH
5-Feb-2016, 20:24
This is why, at least in the U.S., it is important to have an appraisal done as of the date of death, shortly thereafter, if your estate is of any size. Having an estate appraised more than several months after DOD is risky. It's the value of your estate on the DOD that matters.

Doremus Scudder
6-Feb-2016, 03:15
I'm with Brett Weston on this one: I'll destroy my negatives before I go. They are of no historic value, the prints are the final product, not the negatives and I don't really want anyone else printing my stuff after I'm gone.

Doremus

John Layton
6-Feb-2016, 05:22
Only two reasons why I'd not follow in Brett W's footsteps. One - if my work would be of any value to my own descendants. And/or two - if my work would be of any value in the context of education. Otherwise...it'll be an evening with a few close friends, great food/music, the requisite bottle of Laphroaig, and a spectacular bonfire!

mdarnton
6-Feb-2016, 07:02
I have a body of work from four years of my life that's historically interesting and have initiated discussion with the appropriate museum to place the negatives there. They already have some of it in another form, as it was originally published, and my negs will fit well with that. The rest of it will presumably end up in the trash.

bob carnie
6-Feb-2016, 08:11
Me too- I am going to print out everything I have done and try to find homes.

I'm with Brett Weston on this one: I'll destroy my negatives before I go. They are of no historic value, the prints are the final product, not the negatives and I don't really want anyone else printing my stuff after I'm gone.

Doremus

Jim Noel
6-Feb-2016, 09:33
Can you cite an example where this has happened? Because, it's wrong. If the artist's work was "discovered" after his death, at the time of his death the work had no value. The value of the 40-50 left to his heirs is zero, until he is discovered. Once discovered, his work may go up in value, but would be taxed as capitol gains if/when his heirs make a sale. There's no way the sale of a single piece would result in an assessment which would cause a widow to lose her home.

It happened to an acquaintance of mine about 20 years ago in southern Cal. All of his unsold work was appraised based on the value of 2 or 3 pieces which had sold. The tax was so high his wife lost their very nice home.

Mark Sawyer
6-Feb-2016, 12:39
I'm with Brett Weston on this one: I'll destroy my negatives before I go...
Doremus


...it'll be an evening with a few close friends, great food/music, the requisite bottle of Laphroaig, and a spectacular bonfire!

I'm with you guys; better to have people ask why you burned your negatives than ask why you didn't...

Peter Lewin
6-Feb-2016, 13:45
I assume that those who have already posted are professionals, making some or all of their income from photography. I find it hard to believe that the majority of us for whom photography is a hobby (even, perhaps a passion) have collections sufficiently well-known to interest a museum, a state archive, or collectors. In my case, and I can't believe I'm alone, those boxes of mounted, archivally processed prints will go to my wife or my children, who will probably select a few to keep, and discard the rest. Rather than having "planned repositories" for our work, I would expect that at best (i.e. if we are both very good and very lucky) we become followers of the lucky path of a Vivian Maier, a Michael Disfarmer, or even a Eugene Atget, whose work is discovered posthumously, found to have value, and thus preserved. Following the example of Brett Weston is great, if you happen to be one of the icons of photography (and in his case, a member of one of the "first families" of photography). Most of us aren't.

bob carnie
6-Feb-2016, 14:14
Peter

I will give you the short story of David Hunsberger.

He was a professional wedding portrait photographer located in St Jacobs Ontario- He was a Mennonite and his business catered to Mennonite family's.
His income provided for his family and now 10 years after his death I have been introduced to his work by his son.


David in his free time photographed with large format and Hasselblad his Mennonite community, he had access and being one of them was allowed into all the inner functions to
freely photograph.
I doubt that very little income was derived from this passion of his, but he did expose over 9 thousand images that are still in pristine condition of the Mennonite community he was part of- The Conrad Grebel Museum where this collection is housed was gracious enough to allow Davids estate and me scan hundreds of images to be made into a permanent edition of platinum palladium prints.

David was just a simple man, he would be a member here for sure if he lasted long enough, he obviously read every photo magazine and was IMO very interested in The Family of Man.

where am I going with this- most of the significant bodies of work I see are not by professional photographers, rather done by well educated, or professional people with interesting glimpses into life.
Davids was this Mennonite community 1945-1990 South Western Ontario his simple images are going to be a backward glimpse into our past for future generations to see.
Each and every one of us have the capability to record events / or times of value, the trick is how to leave it in good hands.

There are many stories - that come past my shop where bodies of work are mishandled - or family members cannot get their shit together about the work-
But then there is David Hunsberger's family, they will make history. Here is a image of Davids146187

Sirius Glass
6-Feb-2016, 14:29
I am taking my cameras, equipment, darkroom, slides, prints, negatives, money and property with me. End of story!

Wayne
6-Feb-2016, 14:51
So whats the trick to knowing when you are going to die? Some of you don't quite seem to understand how death operates. And a bit presumptuous to put yourselves in the Brett Weston category. For the majority of us/you, we need not worry about burdening anyone with boxes of negatives. They'll go straight in the trash. Nobody is going to pour over them and say ooooohhh by golly I want to print some of Tom/Dick/Harry/Wayne's negatives and then sully our good name by carrying out the threat...

IanG
6-Feb-2016, 15:15
A few months ago I was approached about images I'd exhibited first in the early 1990, I as asked what else I might have as well as it turned out I was the last and possible only person who had photographed and documented an abandoned canal before much of it was finally destroyed. My subsequent (landscape) work is already destined for a museum (the prints) and the negatives relevant local archive, but it raises an issue is there one archive better suited for all that work.

Ian

Kirk Gittings
6-Feb-2016, 16:23
I assume that those who have already posted are professionals, making some or all of their income from photography. I find it hard to believe that the majority of us for whom photography is a hobby (even, perhaps a passion) have collections sufficiently well-known to interest a museum, a state archive, or collectors. In my case, and I can't believe I'm alone, those boxes of mounted, archivally processed prints will go to my wife or my children, who will probably select a few to keep, and discard the rest. Rather than having "planned repositories" for our work, I would expect that at best (i.e. if we are both very good and very lucky) we become followers of the lucky path of a Vivian Maier, a Michael Disfarmer, or even a Eugene Atget, whose work is discovered posthumously, found to have value, and thus preserved. Following the example of Brett Weston is great, if you happen to be one of the icons of photography (and in his case, a member of one of the "first families" of photography). Most of us aren't.

An old acquaintance of mine from UNM beginning photo in the 70's, Robert Christensen, fell off the map and drove a grocery truck for 35 years. He photographed vernacular architecture across rural NM on his routes and in his spare time http://roswellmuseum.org/current/. I'd forgot about him till I ran across a splendid exhibit of his at the Albuquerque Museum. That exhibit traveled all over the state and his archive is now at the State Archives. He never made a dime off it but created a an exquisite, historically and aesthetically valuable body of work that is a fine legacy to him and his "hobby". It proves something I have thought and taught for decades in terms of ultimate recognition. Hard work and persistence trumps "genius". "Thematic projects" that have a dual character (historic documentation and art) trump random sporadic good or even great photographs. Finish your damn projects no matter how many decades it takes and when they are finished show them around.

Richard Wasserman from Chicago, who posts here has a largely similar story, and has produced some great projects (The Chicago River) that are valuable historically and aesthetically and are a fine legacy to his "hobby".

scheinfluger_77
6-Feb-2016, 17:09
It happened to an acquaintance of mine about 20 years ago in southern Cal. All of his unsold work was appraised based on the value of 2 or 3 pieces which had sold. The tax was so high his wife lost their very nice home.

That's really a shame. That was probably the state of California thing, I bet not all of the states are that severe in their estate valuations.

Don Dudenbostel
6-Feb-2016, 22:01
I make my living as a commercial photographer, documentary photographer and artist. I have roughly 100,000 negatives dating back to 1953 that I shot and continue working on documentary projects. Many of them are now quite significant depicting Appalachian culture that is fading away quickly. I've been fortunate to gain the trust of people in my region and have had access to serpent handling church services, cock fights, moonshiners with their stills, private ku klux klan meetings and cross burnings and even a private meeting between a neonazi group and the kkk just to name a few. The Tennessee State Museum and East Tennessee Historical society have started acquiring many images and upon my leaving this life the East Tennessee Historical society will inherit all of my work. One major Southern university as also talking about obtaining some of the work as well. In 2009 a large exhibition of 94 selected images went on display and has toured museums since closing locally. It's being used by schools for educational purposes. One of the conditions regarding the csection is that images will be available to the public for study and never be used for commercial purposes. The ETHS has had fund raisers and has started acquiring digital files as well as hundreds of prints from my archive.

Too often one works wind up in the trash and I didn't want that to happen to my lifetime of work.

Merg Ross
6-Feb-2016, 22:34
I'm with Brett Weston on this one: I'll destroy my negatives before I go. They are of no historic value, the prints are the final product, not the negatives and I don't really want anyone else printing my stuff after I'm gone.

Doremus

Greetings, Doremus-

It was no surprise that Brett destroyed most of his negatives before his 80th birthday; he talked of that plan for almost four decades before his death, and was absolutely right in doing so---only he could make a Brett Weston print! However, the real problem centered around the 30,000 prints left in his estate. Unfortunately, they became the center of a contentious fight for several years before resolution, a rather sad spectacle and far from what Brett had intended. Lawyers, judges, relatives, gallery owners, appraisers, and would-be purchasers slugged it out. Perhaps best to find a home for prints outside of one's estate if tax consequences area a consideration.

Hope you are making new work, I check your site from time to time!

Best,
Merg

Doremus Scudder
7-Feb-2016, 05:03
Greetings, Doremus-

It was no surprise that Brett destroyed most of his negatives before his 80th birthday; he talked of that plan for almost four decades before his death, and was absolutely right in doing so---only he could make a Brett Weston print! However, the real problem centered around the 30,000 prints left in his estate. Unfortunately, they became the center of a contentious fight for several years before resolution, a rather sad spectacle and far from what Brett had intended. Lawyers, judges, relatives, gallery owners, appraisers, and would-be purchasers slugged it out. Perhaps best to find a home for prints outside of one's estate if tax consequences area a consideration.

Hope you are making new work, I check your site from time to time!

Best,
Merg

Hi Merg,

Yes, what to do with the prints is a completely different ball of wax. I've got more than quite a few and have never really given much thought to what my "heirs" might do with them when I'm gone. I'll have to work something out. Hopefully I'll have a few years to figure that out.

And thanks for inquiring about my website. I've been really busy with my "day jobs" the last few years (opera singer, music educator) and have also moved and am in the process of building a new darkroom, all of which has kept me from doing a lot of printing. All along, however, I've been using what time I do have to make negatives; I now have a backlog of negatives that I hope to finally have time to get to work on in about nine months. In the meantime, I'm working on an update of the website. Check back in a couple of months for the newer (well, not so old...) work.

I think my reasons for destroying negatives are similar to Brett Weston's: I'm not a journalist or historical photographer. I consider my work to be art (however pretentious that may sound to some). The prints are the objects that represent my final vision and intent. The negatives are just an intermediate step (lithographers don't save their plates, do they?). I only need the negative to print with and then to make a possible reprint. After that, it is my prints that are my legacy, if any. I'll be leaving a lot of those behind. I guess I should think about good homes for them (I'll have more time to do marketing and exhibitions soon too) :)

Best,

Doremus

Randy Moe
7-Feb-2016, 09:43
If negatives last far longer than prints isn't destroying negs like spitting on your own grave?

Until recently, I was unaware of the 500 year goal of government preservation of important images, documents and files. They require film negatives. Only.

History shows us very little survives time and we value almost anything that does.

DrTang
8-Feb-2016, 08:34
Ya Know

I have been wrestling with this very question for since my Mom passed last year

now..she was not a photographer or anything..but there was still a ton of...stuff...left to deal with.

That got me to thinking about my - stuff- and what would eventually happen to it

My best guess is that my kid would donate all the negs and prints and writings to the Goodwill.. and maybe someone will buy them and I will be 'Discovered' and exhibited and such

or not..what do I care..I'm dead...

but it would be nice to have an online repository of 'work' that hangs around for ..oh 50 years after my demise.. that is all cataloged and indexed and searchable, etc

I even started to put stuff together towards that end (but soon grew bored with the project) - and discussed with my brother the programming guy if it's possible to do such a thing and maybe even offer it as a service for all the creatives out there

but..at this point I think I'm sticking with the Goodwill scenerio

Randy Moe
8-Feb-2016, 09:01
'What do I care after I am dead?'

Doesn't anybody care about their children, their children and so on?

Not picking on you Dr Tang, but this attitude seems pervasive.

One day, I hope future humans study us to see where we went wrong. Archeologists always look in the garbage dump. Sturdy negatives will help them.

Perhaps I'm odd, but I tell friends I will be here in 500 years. Dust to dust. E=MC2

Drew Wiley
8-Feb-2016, 10:01
emh - It's happened in several infamous cases. It happened to my own brother in an analogous situation. Never mind if it was a legitimate action of not. One can go broke just tangling with the IRS in the courts. It can take a decade to get your money back. If you win you get it back with interest, but you'll never get back your lost financial momentum or nerves. They've made some serious adjustments to mitigate such abuses; but here's how it happened: Collection agents, including rogue ones, are incentified by the amount of their collections, almost like a commission. If they subsequently leave the IRS, they're not personally held accountable for their collection "errors". They keep these earnings, fairly obtained or not. The odds of it happening to any of us is very small with respect to the value of our personal work. It's not that difficult to know your standing with the IRS. If you are given an appointment with an auditor, you show up with your paperwork proof. If they come to you, you hire a tax attorney. If they come to you with handcuffs, you hire a criminal attorney. Probably none of us have a bullseye on our back, like those who deliberately tease either the IRS or FBI. I can think of a photographer who does; but no museum on earth will be interested in a print donation from him. One has to plan not only for the legitimate aspects of the system, but what can go wrong. Estate transitions can be paperwork hell
regardless. A simple typographical error somewhere in the process can create months of headaches. I've been through it.

Drew Wiley
8-Feb-2016, 10:04
Now to that neg thing. Who's gonna give a damn about any or our negs unless we're especially famous? A neg is not my idea of finished product anyway. Only the
print is. Brett Weston is my hero for having that bonfire.

Randy Moe
8-Feb-2016, 10:19
Now to that neg thing. Who's gonna give a damn about any or our negs unless we're especially famous? A neg is not my idea of finished product anyway. Only the
print is. Brett Weston is my hero for having that bonfire.

My point is, we are poor judges of what will be valued far from now.

I'm sure we all regret the burnings of the Alexandria Library. We have no idea what was lost.

Drew Wiley
8-Feb-2016, 10:29
It won't be up to me anyway. I'm hoping that a number of key prints will simply be sold off by then to people who prize and protect them. How the rest get liquidated is hard to say. You can only plan for so much. Mortality can come when you least expect it. But no sense brooding over it. Just do the best you can in
terms of common sense planning. But it's only likely to get way worse once I retire, because I'm gearing up for a lot of printing. And some of those prints will be
big. It's in my blood. Can't help it.

Randy Moe
8-Feb-2016, 10:42
I would be the last to stop you!

HMG
8-Feb-2016, 10:58
It happened to an acquaintance of mine about 20 years ago in southern Cal. All of his unsold work was appraised based on the value of 2 or 3 pieces which had sold. The tax was so high his wife lost their very nice home.

What strikes me as odd about this example is this: Assume you have 100 pieces and 2 others sold for $1000 each. The IRS says each must be worth $1000 and hands you a bill for 40% (to pick a number) of $100,000. Why not donate 40 to an appropriate institution and have a $40k offset to your $40k tax bill? It may be painful to lose the 40 (they're not really lost, just in other, non-private hands), but better than losing a home.

I'm not arguing that the IRS can't act in illogical and even capricious ways, it's just that in many of these cases there is more than meets the eye.

DrTang
8-Feb-2016, 11:42
She'll have the choice to keep the stuff or not

if she doesn't - that's okay..why burdon down your life with boxes and boxes of stuff??

which is why a website of my stuff in perpetuity would be cool - then all she'd need is a url



'What do I care after I am dead?'

Doesn't anybody care about their children, their children and so on?

Not picking on you Dr Tang, but this attitude seems pervasive.

One day, I hope future humans study us to see where we went wrong. Archeologists always look in the garbage dump. Sturdy negatives will help them.

Perhaps I'm odd, but I tell friends I will be here in 500 years. Dust to dust. E=MC2

Michael Mutmansky
8-Feb-2016, 12:13
What strikes me as odd about this example is this: Assume you have 100 pieces and 2 others sold for $1000 each. The IRS says each must be worth $1000 and hands you a bill for 40% (to pick a number) of $100,000. Why not donate 40 to an appropriate institution and have a $40k offset to your $40k tax bill? It may be painful to lose the 40 (they're not really lost, just in other, non-private hands), but better than losing a home.

I'm not arguing that the IRS can't act in illogical and even capricious ways, it's just that in many of these cases there is more than meets the eye.

I agree with this... I don't think this is the true reason in the anecdotes that were mentioned.

For one, you can fairly easily prove that the prints aren't worth that much by trying to sell them... If they sell, you get the money needed to pay the tax, if they don't you have proof that they weren't worth anywhere near what the IRS claims they are worth. How is this difficult? I do accept that it will take time and effort to do this, but I don't see how the free market can't prove the value of the works fairly simply.


---Michael

Drew Wiley
8-Feb-2016, 12:55
The IRS has specified goals during certain seasons, just like the Highway Patrol. If they get wind that it's becoming popular for dentists to hide profits offshore,
for example, they'll home in on that specific arena of abuse and make an example of the worst offenders, then move on to another target. If they find out lots of
artists are hiding substantial amounts of taxable income, they're target that. Unlikely, since it would involve a lot of effort to ultimately collect relatively little from a lot of starving artist types. But they might take a second look at high-profile individuals who raise eyebrows concerning fraud or shady corporate practices, just like the FBI has done numerous times. People with a bullseye on them already, for one reason or another, and probably none of us. But the wild card is when an IRS agent himself goes rogue. They have clamped down on that kind of thing internally pretty hard, but probably not eliminated it. After all, it's a huge organization. And unlike most situations, the burden of proof is largely on you, not them. They take your money first, then you have to explain why you should have it back. And challenging that arrangement is not a smart idea at all, nope. Statistically, unless you are a crook with something to hide, just keeping
appropriate records should be adequate to alleviate any serious trouble. If you throwing big parties every weekend and have a yacht and a Ferrari, they want to
know why.

Drew Wiley
8-Feb-2016, 13:43
Also let me factor in a "guilt by association" theme. Back when I had a fair amt of personal representation in the Carmel scene, the FBI had a full-time detail homing in on the galleries. They didn't bother with photographers or photography galleries at all because they had no reason for suspicion. But several of the painting galleries smelled like a rat, so they put all of them under a microscope. The bad apples were basically pre-Kinkade assembly-line schemes claiming to
sell originals. It was legal fraud and they bagged some of those operators. And of course, any such action almost always triggers a parallel IRS investigation.
When Kinkade came along, he played all kinds of tricks to keep one little toenail inside legality, but was otherwise constantly teasing the FBI. So they never did
get him for art fraud, but instantly pounced him for franchise fraud. So given those precedents, certain unduly flashy tourist row marketing schemes might understandably attract the kind of attention most of us wouldn't want. Same applied to waterfront galleries in SF, who had to pay off gigantic overheads due to
location along with protection money to the mob, so sometimes got tempted into shady business practices. The FBI had reason to snoop around, while they didn't
do the same for downtown galleries which weren't in the organized crime zone during that same era. All kinds of factors come into play. But the kind of estate
planning you or I are likely to do is not likely to cause any commotion. Just don't buy a Ferrari on a last-minute whim.

D-tach
8-Feb-2016, 14:36
I'm happy Vivian Maier didn't burn her negatives

Drew Wiley
8-Feb-2016, 14:42
That's because she never printed any of them, so it's an educated guess how she would have wanted it done. Or maybe she didn't care. It's different for those of
us who do care.

bob carnie
8-Feb-2016, 15:01
Not true- Vivian had many prints made, in fact if you watch the movie by John M there is a section showing the small lab in France that made the prints, in correspondence she
talks about how she likes the matt prints.

I have seen many of these prints hanging on the wall at Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto,

As well Ron Slaterly in Chicago has a large selection of prints.



That's because she never printed any of them, so it's an educated guess how she would have wanted it done. Or maybe she didn't care. It's different for those of
us who do care.

Drew Wiley
8-Feb-2016, 16:17
OK. Thanks for that clarification. Bob. Maybe my misinterpretation. She had prints made, but didn't print any herself?

bob carnie
9-Feb-2016, 07:24
Ron Slaterly would be a good source to answer that, as I think he has the largest collection of original prints

I would not be surprised that she did not at some time work in a darkroom. Time will tell.

OK. Thanks for that clarification. Bob. Maybe my misinterpretation. She had prints made, but didn't print any herself?

fishbulb
9-Feb-2016, 09:28
One example:

Two years ago, one of the eldest members of my photography club died, in his 90's. He was a good photographer, with archives spanning at least sixty years.

But, he was very stubborn (which probably contributed to his longevity) and made no plans whatsoever for his archive. He had no children, his wife had passed, and he had outlived most of his relatives.

There was no doubt a lot of good work in his archives. However, there was no one to organize/print/digitize it. So, all of it ended up getting thrown away.

Another example:

My grandfather was a photography teacher full time for 50 years. He was a good photographer and focused his work mostly on his own family life. He had eight children. He did a good job organizing and cataloging his prints and negatives. When he died, his work was divided up among the children. Many of the negatives have been scanned and digitized by the children, and the prints are all hanging in homes.

So...

Keep your work organized and make sure you've got someone lined up to inherit it who actually cares about the work. Otherwise, it's probably just going to get thrown out, auctioned off, or stuffed in a box in a moldy attic.

One other note, you can also digitally archive your photo legacy. There are photography clubs and websites offer this service in exchange for a one-time fee to digitally host the photos. You might also want to read: https://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2015/09/legacy-and-estate-planning-for-photographers-an-attorneys-perspective/

Drew Wiley
9-Feb-2016, 16:23
Thank you, Bob. I haven't really paid a lot of attention to her other than finding a number of images really intriguing. There are analogous situations out here where somebody's exceptional work pops up and then it becomes a mystery. The latest major donation to the SFMMA was a lifetime collection of exceptional prints all by previously unrecognized photographers, or in the majority of cases, those whose very names probably we'll probably never know. Quite a shift from the typical pattern of collecting only a comparative handful of signatures, since these allegedly have no signatures. At least I hope to have all my best work drymounted and put into something that looks like something is in it worth caring for. If I'm lucky maybe a bit serious income will start trickling in when we need it the most. I watched my Father's entire life savings disappear in just a year and a half once he required assisted living beyond the ability of the family
itself, despite two pensions, rental income, and social security. I'm just grateful that he made it to his mid-90's before that was required.

Bill_1856
9-Feb-2016, 16:37
I am taking my cameras, equipment, darkroom, slides, prints, negatives, money and property with me. End of story!

I'm only going to take one LEICA. Wherever I'm going, they will either have Kodachrome II or (the other place) no film at all!

Jac@stafford.net
9-Feb-2016, 16:45
When I sell a photograph I include the negative, bound on the back of a print in what I hope is archival clear plastic. Who does that today?

Regarding the after-life, I am preparing a little book of the same: print and negatives and will, energy providing, bury it in a military ammo can in the backyard to frustrate whomever find it in his way.

Jim Noel
9-Feb-2016, 16:46
I make my living as a commercial photographer, documentary photographer and artist. I have roughly 100,000 negatives dating back to 1953 that I shot and continue working on documentary projects. Many of them are now quite significant depicting Appalachian culture that is fading away quickly. I've been fortunate to gain the trust of people in my region and have had access to serpent handling church services, cock fights, moonshiners with their stills, private ku klux klan meetings and cross burnings and even a private meeting between a neonazi group and the kkk just to name a few. The Tennessee State Museum and East Tennessee Historical society have started acquiring many images and upon my leaving this life the East Tennessee Historical society will inherit all of my work. One major Southern university as also talking about obtaining some of the work as well. In 2009 a large exhibition of 94 selected images went on display and has toured museums since closing locally. It's being used by schools for educational purposes. One of the conditions regarding the csection is that images will be available to the public for study and never be used for commercial purposes. The ETHS has had fund raisers and has started acquiring digital files as well as hundreds of prints from my archive.

Too often one works wind up in the trash and I didn't want that to happen to my lifetime of work.

Having originally been from that area I am happy to hear that your work is going to be available for future generations to view. I remember well the wonderful people of the mountains. My mother grew up in the hills of Western N.Carolina, and my father in NE Tennessee. Both were the first in their families to graduate from High School. Both went on to become graduates of Tusculum College in Greeneville.
Congratulations on your life's work.
Jim

John Kasaian
9-Feb-2016, 16:55
I'd find it amusing if my portfolio ended up in a yard sale in Fresno, Calif and some dude mistook it for the lost portfolio of Ansel ArbusROFLMAO!

Jim Noel
9-Feb-2016, 17:02
I am now 87 and still photographing with ULF fillm.
My children now have permission to put their name on any print they see hanging, and I am about ready to begin passing them out. This includes the prints I have made by some of the real masters which I was lucky enough to obtain before they got famous. Once I am gone any prints they don't want will be burned along with the negatives.
I believe the only work which is worthy of taking up valuable space in major, or minor repositories is that of highly respected and widely known artists, and that of significant historical value. I don't have high minded ideas that my work fits any of those categories.

Dave Ogle
10-Feb-2016, 13:22
Read the whole thread. Alot of good info. I too, at the ripe age of 66, have been thinking about this also. Many good points brought out. A few years back had the chance to meet the head person in charge of the Bank of America - then La Salle bank, photo collection. At the time, they were not buying or even excepting donations. I did slip one one in on her with a home made thank you note w/ a photo on it.
So plan ahead. I also collect photographs. Have some by "known" photographers that have some value. No Weston's, darn. But at least with these, they already have a value and could be sold. or donated. Dave O

Iluvmyviewcam
10-Feb-2016, 13:47
One example:

Two years ago, one of the eldest members of my photography club died, in his 90's. He was a good photographer, with archives spanning at least sixty years.

But, he was very stubborn (which probably contributed to his longevity) and made no plans whatsoever for his archive. He had no children, his wife had passed, and he had outlived most of his relatives.

There was no doubt a lot of good work in his archives. However, there was no one to organize/print/digitize it. So, all of it ended up getting thrown away.

Another example:

My grandfather was a photography teacher full time for 50 years. He was a good photographer and focused his work mostly on his own family life. He had eight children. He did a good job organizing and cataloging his prints and negatives. When he died, his work was divided up among the children. Many of the negatives have been scanned and digitized by the children, and the prints are all hanging in homes.

So...

Keep your work organized and make sure you've got someone lined up to inherit it who actually cares about the work. Otherwise, it's probably just going to get thrown out, auctioned off, or stuffed in a box in a moldy attic.

One other note, you can also digitally archive your photo legacy. There are photography clubs and websites offer this service in exchange for a one-time fee to digitally host the photos. You might also want to read: https://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2015/09/legacy-and-estate-planning-for-photographers-an-attorneys-perspective/


That is what got my ass in gear. My ex DIL and wife was going to trash my pix when I die. I still have not found a turnkey depository, but I have good luck with placing prints and artists' books.

If you are having problems placing large size prints. (everyone complains they are out of room) Retry making letter size artists books. Special Collection libraries will take them in lieu of large size prints. Even so, the rejection rate is 85% to 90% for donation of hand printed artists' books.

Here is a list of SC libraries.

https://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/md2z/ArtistsBooksDirectory/ArtistsBookIndex.html

They generally only want hand-printed book unless the book is very rare or covers very special topics. Some SC libraries do not want hand-made items as they are prohibited from collecting works of art.

Iluvmyviewcam
10-Feb-2016, 13:52
Read the whole thread. Alot of good info. I too, at the ripe age of 66, have been thinking about this also. Many good points brought out. A few years back had the chance to meet the head person in charge of the Bank of America - then La Salle bank, photo collection. At the time, they were not buying or even excepting donations. I did slip one one in on her with a home made thank you note w/ a photo on it.
So plan ahead. I also collect photographs. Have some by "known" photographers that have some value. No Weston's, darn. But at least with these, they already have a value and could be sold. or donated. Dave O

or even excepting donations...

As you work in this area you will soon learn how worthless great photography can be when you are constantly turned down even to give it away for free. Just got to work through it. If your collectable, you will get them placed somewhere.

Here is a list of museums. Start at A and work to Z emailing / writing them.

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/museums-us.html

Iluvmyviewcam
10-Feb-2016, 13:55
Also let me factor in a "guilt by association" theme. Back when I had a fair amt of personal representation in the Carmel scene, the FBI had a full-time detail homing in on the galleries. They didn't bother with photographers or photography galleries at all because they had no reason for suspicion. But several of the painting galleries smelled like a rat, so they put all of them under a microscope. The bad apples were basically pre-Kinkade assembly-line schemes claiming to
sell originals. It was legal fraud and they bagged some of those operators. And of course, any such action almost always triggers a parallel IRS investigation.
When Kinkade came along, he played all kinds of tricks to keep one little toenail inside legality, but was otherwise constantly teasing the FBI. So they never did
get him for art fraud, but instantly pounced him for franchise fraud. So given those precedents, certain unduly flashy tourist row marketing schemes might understandably attract the kind of attention most of us wouldn't want. Same applied to waterfront galleries in SF, who had to pay off gigantic overheads due to
location along with protection money to the mob, so sometimes got tempted into shady business practices. The FBI had reason to snoop around, while they didn't
do the same for downtown galleries which weren't in the organized crime zone during that same era. All kinds of factors come into play. But the kind of estate
planning you or I are likely to do is not likely to cause any commotion. Just don't buy a Ferrari on a last-minute whim.

"guilt by association" ?

I suffer from that with getting my work in shows or even getting written up in blogs...not fit for for exhibition.

Iluvmyviewcam
10-Feb-2016, 13:57
I make my living as a commercial photographer, documentary photographer and artist. I have roughly 100,000 negatives dating back to 1953 that I shot and continue working on documentary projects. Many of them are now quite significant depicting Appalachian culture that is fading away quickly. I've been fortunate to gain the trust of people in my region and have had access to serpent handling church services, cock fights, moonshiners with their stills, private ku klux klan meetings and cross burnings and even a private meeting between a neonazi group and the kkk just to name a few. The Tennessee State Museum and East Tennessee Historical society have started acquiring many images and upon my leaving this life the East Tennessee Historical society will inherit all of my work. One major Southern university as also talking about obtaining some of the work as well. In 2009 a large exhibition of 94 selected images went on display and has toured museums since closing locally. It's being used by schools for educational purposes. One of the conditions regarding the csection is that images will be available to the public for study and never be used for commercial purposes. The ETHS has had fund raisers and has started acquiring digital files as well as hundreds of prints from my archive.

Too often one works wind up in the trash and I didn't want that to happen to my lifetime of work.


Good for you, although no commercial use after your dead is a downer for curators that need funds for conservation.

Iluvmyviewcam
10-Feb-2016, 13:59
Hi Merg,

Yes, what to do with the prints is a completely different ball of wax. I've got more than quite a few and have never really given much thought to what my "heirs" might do with them when I'm gone. I'll have to work something out. Hopefully I'll have a few years to figure that out.

And thanks for inquiring about my website. I've been really busy with my "day jobs" the last few years (opera singer, music educator) and have also moved and am in the process of building a new darkroom, all of which has kept me from doing a lot of printing. All along, however, I've been using what time I do have to make negatives; I now have a backlog of negatives that I hope to finally have time to get to work on in about nine months. In the meantime, I'm working on an update of the website. Check back in a couple of months for the newer (well, not so old...) work.

I think my reasons for destroying negatives are similar to Brett Weston's: I'm not a journalist or historical photographer. I consider my work to be art (however pretentious that may sound to some). The prints are the objects that represent my final vision and intent. The negatives are just an intermediate step (lithographers don't save their plates, do they?). I only need the negative to print with and then to make a possible reprint. After that, it is my prints that are my legacy, if any. I'll be leaving a lot of those behind. I guess I should think about good homes for them (I'll have more time to do marketing and exhibitions soon too) :)

Best,

Doremus

GD...negs should not be destroyed they should be conserved. What hap is the prints fade and the negs are all that is left.? Idiots for not thinking in terms of millennia. The sig makes the print done or approved by the photog. no sig means it is just another print.

Iluvmyviewcam
10-Feb-2016, 14:02
I make my living as a commercial photographer, documentary photographer and artist. I have roughly 100,000 negatives dating back to 1953 that I shot and continue working on documentary projects. Many of them are now quite significant depicting Appalachian culture that is fading away quickly. I've been fortunate to gain the trust of people in my region and have had access to serpent handling church services, cock fights, moonshiners with their stills, private ku klux klan meetings and cross burnings and even a private meeting between a neonazi group and the kkk just to name a few. The Tennessee State Museum and East Tennessee Historical society have started acquiring many images and upon my leaving this life the East Tennessee Historical society will inherit all of my work. One major Southern university as also talking about obtaining some of the work as well. In 2009 a large exhibition of 94 selected images went on display and has toured museums since closing locally. It's being used by schools for educational purposes. One of the conditions regarding the csection is that images will be available to the public for study and never be used for commercial purposes. The ETHS has had fund raisers and has started acquiring digital files as well as hundreds of prints from my archive.

Too often one works wind up in the trash and I didn't want that to happen to my lifetime of work.

Yes, I remember...love the KKK pix. I lost some of my Nazi's in a flood in OH.

http://api.ning.com/files/MoQW6swxykV-ufqYn9O144L31oCS1cAywemUSL29Yi2V4R8xoNt0M9eSY0BKIRXCtD4p8xLuuNmKiwphv9X5G78x1fdgIszE/HakenkreuzinaDressCopyright1973DanielD.TeoliJr..jpg

Iluvmyviewcam
10-Feb-2016, 14:04
My point is, we are poor judges of what will be valued far from now.

I'm sure we all regret the burnings of the Alexandria Library. We have no idea what was lost.

Sure, but you should try to see if any collectability is within your realm. Most of what you guys shoot does not interest me and vice versa. If you don't try to archive your life's work you are just twiddling your thumbs, waiting until you kick off.

Sirius Glass
10-Feb-2016, 14:21
That is what got my ass in gear. My ex DIL and wife was going to trash my pix when I die.

Trash the wife [spouse] and get a younger, newer lower maintenance model.

Randy Moe
10-Feb-2016, 14:52
Sure, but you should try to see if any collectability is within your realm. Most of what you guys shoot does not interest me and vice versa. If you don't try to archive your life's work you are just twiddling your thumbs, waiting until you kick off.

I enjoy photography as a hobby.

My art is nowhere here and never will be.

It is never seen with eyes.

My art may be too subtle for this extreme age.

Fine with me.

Drew Wiley
10-Feb-2016, 15:04
There are some very famous photographers in this area. The museums dedicated to this region per se, meaning the entire state, are maxed out. In other words,
if you've had a couple feature TV documentaries about you, are known by many many other photographers, are a prime second-generation "master", nearly all
your work will end up either in the trash or in family attic boxes to become rodent chewed or mildewed. Secondary media like discs will be good only for skeet
shooting. Why would anyone even bother to view them when there are going to be billions of them laying around in attic shoeboxes. It not like a box of old tintypes that actually look interesting for their own sake. Let's face us - we are our own best mutual customers. A relatively small percent will go to public or private collections. That's always been the case. I've rifled through hundreds of pounds at a time of family ambrotypes, tintypes, Daguerrotypes, albumen, cyanotype, and silver prints for maybe a dozen I framed, and maybe two dozed others I reserved in archival boxes. Some have real historical interest, but nobody cares. Just get used to it. I'll continue to mat and archive my prints in the most presentable method possible. I'll enjoy every minute of it, from camera
to drymount press. I hope to get some significant old-age booster income from it. And I already have a younger, newer, lower maintenance wife who will decide
what to do with what's left. So I should probably purchase a bulldozer in advance.

Randy Moe
10-Feb-2016, 17:07
When you plow it under, shoot a documentary of that.

Drew Wiley
10-Feb-2016, 17:26
I'll be content if they bury me in something comfortable and not a suit and tie. But I won't have much control over that either. But I do know a family going through it right now. Won't give the name. It would be well known to our generation. But what to do with all those prints? They really don't have an answer, and these folks are really in the know. Then there was the fellow in the area who inherited a mountain of big name prints, including AA and EW, but not any stereotypical iconic ones. He managed to sell about 1/4 % of them and couldn't even donate the rest. Nobody wanted them. He lost money trying. Same goes for getting your 15min of fame. You might get a good museum show or whatever, but that doesn't mean they're going to collect anything more than a token print, if anything at all. Sometimes there are completely different budget and space protocols involved. Does any of this bother me? In a way, because I don't want my heirs to have headaches. So if I'm able, I'd probably try to slowly sell off my gear in advance, or leave behind instruction how best to do it. But I'll just keep making prints as long as I can. I can't prevent that anymore than you can prevent a gopher digging holes.

Randy Moe
10-Feb-2016, 20:43
We need to get more creative. I know of a guy who got cremated and welded into his motorcycle gas tank. Von Dutch, California artist he. Many have been buried in their car. Perhaps we should insist we are planted sitting at a huge enlarger. Or welded inside a SS sink. Endless artful possibilities. I prefer, burn me and dump the ashes in the alley.

Drew, I actually have always wanted to die in the woods and let the critters take care of the problem.

Anything is better than a hospital or bed.

Rage, rage against the...

Drew Wiley
11-Feb-2016, 09:49
How my aunt did it was to hold a final sale and donate all the proceeds to a specific charity. All her large paintings were already in museums or protected by the Natl Historic Register, but there were lot of small sketches and watercolors. Her assistants rounded them up and she signed them on her deathbed. She also had a small watercolor pad there and kept making more, at least till they hauled here into the ICU. It was first-come, first-serve, with a set price of $6000 per sketch. It raised a considerable amount of money and solved the problem of the unassigned portion of the collection. Of course, this was a "natural death" situation where
there was some idea of when the sand would run out of the hourglass, so realistic plans could be made in advance.

alanmcd
11-Feb-2016, 22:36
An old acquaintance of mine from UNM beginning photo in the 70's, Robert Christensen, fell off the map and drove a grocery truck for 35 years. He photographed vernacular architecture across rural NM on his routes and in his spare time http://roswellmuseum.org/current/. I'd forgot about him till I ran across a splendid exhibit of his at the Albuquerque Museum. That exhibit traveled all over the state and his archive is now at the State Archives. He never made a dime off it but created a an exquisite, historically and aesthetically valuable body of work that is a fine legacy to him and his "hobby". It proves something I have thought and taught for decades in terms of ultimate recognition. Hard work and persistence trumps "genius". "Thematic projects" that have a dual character (historic documentation and art) trump random sporadic good or even great photographs. Finish your damn projects no matter how many decades it takes and when they are finished show them around.

Richard Wasserman from Chicago, who posts here has a largely similar story, and has produced some great projects (The Chicago River) that are valuable historically and aesthetically and are a fine legacy to his "hobby".

I can't agree more. I am working on a body of work. I have contacted the State Library in an attempt to further tailor this work to something they find unequivocally attractive to their collection. It's a measure of my persistence. It's not un-artistic. It's thematic and thorough in coverage. I can't imagine doing all this work and then letting it blow forth in the winds of time. But it needs to be a body or work to be recognised.
Alan

DrTang
12-Feb-2016, 08:11
I'm only going to take one LEICA. Wherever I'm going, they will either have Kodachrome II or (the other place) no film at all!

the other place only has polachrome

Bill_1856
12-Feb-2016, 08:58
the other place only has polachrome

lol!

Shootar401
5-Mar-2016, 12:08
The wise financial strategy if the IRS might place value on a collection is to designate a certain amount to an institution, analogous to a living trust, effective with
decease. Otherwise, your family might get assessed for the whole collection based upon just a handful of peak sales! It's rare, but has hit certain individuals on
their radar. In the worst cases, some poor widow gets her house seized because some painter suddenly got "discovered" after his death, a painting sold for a ton
of money, and forty are fifty are left at home. The poor dude might not have ever sold one in his own lifetime! Rare, but not impossible. And the widow might
not ever be able to sell the rest of the prints for anything. It could be a fluke sale. Estate planning is always a good idea, and not just a will.

As long as you do it carefully and have people who you trust take care of things for you after you die, you can transfter, sell or donate anything without the IRS knowing. Plus they have no need to meddle in your affairs after you are gone.

Memyself
5-Mar-2016, 13:42
I'm sure that most cities and towns have some sort of historical society. It has been my experience that they tend to be very interested in all types of photos that pertain to their location. The city where I live has an active historical society that maintains a collection of thousands of photographs depicting all aspects of times past here. Some are street scenes, some are single buildings, others reflect significant events or landscape scenes prior to development, while others record everyday life. Many date from the early 1900's (or earlier), but many are much more recent. While some were taken by professionals, it is obvious that many are snapshots taken by non-professionals. To help fund the historical society, prints from these photos and negatives can be purchased. Many commercial buildings (office, restaurant, etc.) use the photos to decorate their walls. My experience is that most people enjoy looking at these old pictures whether it be for the old cars, clothing styles, or hair styles. My point is that just because someone is not a "professional" does not mean that their photos should be tossed out. Why not make a provision in your will that would allow your survivors to keep any photos they want and then bequeath the collection to your local historical society. If they don't want them, let them dispose of them. Who knows, there might just be something of historical interest!

Sirius Glass
5-Mar-2016, 14:49
Welcome to Large Format Photography Forum

Randy Moe
5-Mar-2016, 15:15
I'm making my own time capsule. Maybe I'll have my dust self put in there.

Mike Lewis
5-Mar-2016, 17:39
the other place only has polachrome

It certainly doesn't have infrared.