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Bill_1856
20-Feb-2016, 14:09
The Most Photographed Generation Will Have No Pictures in 10 Years!



Cameras.

They're everywhere. In your phone, on your tablet, you have your point-n-shoot, and maybe even a DSLR. A few might even own a film camera. You can't escape the selfies, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. People are deluged with photographs. And today, people are taking more pictures than ever before. It's been estimated that in the past 5 years, more photos have been taken than all the prior years combined.

The sad part is that few of these photographs will survive beyond a year. To many people, a "picture" is only good for the moment. Moms and Dads want to snap every little movement of that new baby. Grandma wants to see everyone one of those too. When you want to show off the new puppy, you pull out the phone. And in a week, none of them have any real meaning and might even get "deleted" just to make room for more pictures that have little meaning as well inside of a couple of weeks.

So what will become of all the pictures that are being taken today? Here is the reason that 99% of the photographs being taken today are soon going to be totally gone - digital images are no longer important enough to most people to actually keep them in printed form!

Yes, I started in a film only world. We bought a roll of film and took our vacation photographs. We had them developed and printed. They were put in photo albums or photo boxes. We looked at them and cherished those memories with great care. They were a slice of our life and for many, if disaster struck, those photographs were the one thing we would try to find first. Wedding albums and photographs represented our LIFE and we salvaged all we could.

It is estimated and less that 1 out of 100,000 photographs taken today actually ends up being a printed photograph. The digital world means you can look at those on some computer screen and without one, you have nothing. You probably have countless pictures that are just randomly stored and has no organization or way to locate them. Perhaps you have made some effort, but even that can seem overwhelming a task when you decide to tackle the task.

Add to this, over the years, the technology has changed so fast, that many photographs taken 6-7 years ago are stored on a type of media that is no longer supported. I have boxes of floppy discs and not even a computer that works to view them. In 5 years or less, your DVD is going to be obsolete as will your USB drives. File types are going to change as well. And the technology of tomorrow may not support these "older" file types.

Many today have older cell phones with countless pictures on them. Maybe you "shared" some on Facebook or Instagram or uploaded to your photo storage website. But none of these are "permanent" solutions to viewing your photos and sadly, many of your memories you captured today, aren't going to be around tomorrow. So where is that old cellphone today? In a drawer someplace, your not sure where, but you know it's around here somewhere!

There are also countless memory cards filled with photographs. Each of those represent a small slice of you or something that was a part of your life. Some are older and you have fewer options to view them as technology simply outpaces their usefulness. Does anyone remember the 256mb SD cards when today, a 4 gb is considered tiny?

Perhaps you go to a Professional Photographer and all you want is someone to "take some pictures and give us the disc". After all, it IS a "digital world" and it shouldn't cost you very much. You can "take them down to the 1 hr place" and get prints really cheap. No film. No prints from the lab needed to "see" them. So where are your discs today? Probably in that same drawer you haven't found yet where that old cell phone is "lost" in. I doubt you have your DVD's or old floppies on your wall! And when Mom asks if you have that adorable photo of your now 16 year old son or daughter- you know the one when they were 2- and you have to answer, I do, but I have to find it. "It's on a diskŠsomeplaceŠI thinkŠ.maybe we still doŠhoney, where did we put that disk again?".

In my home, you will find photographs. Real, honest to goodness prints. Nothing fancy in most cases and most are just plain snapshots of family at holidays, on vacation, or doing something silly or even important. These are the slices of our lives where we can open the old "self sticking" album and find out it no longer sticks. Where memories of our life unfolds before our eyes. We laugh. We cry. We tease each other. Our life is right there. It's in that printed image that anyone can see. There is no wondering "if this file type is still supported" or does my "machine still have a DVD drive". None of that is needed. Even the older, not quite as sharp as they used to be eyes can see them and feel the emotions of that instant in time as if it happened yesterday. These are the things we protect with everything we have should some disaster strike and the ones we start looking for first if it does. All of a sudden that $250 DeLonghi Coffee maker isn't all that important. Nor is the fishing boat. Or the 72" big screen TV with all the bells and whistles. It's always the memories of our lives that become the thing we search for first.

So if you are part of this "digital revolution", let me ask you- where are YOUR photographs? Stuck on some disc or stored out there is cyberspace someplace, hopefully, perhaps? Why didn't you actually purchase that $500 canvas to display in your home that your Professional photographer worked so hard to produce for you? That was a "one of a kind" work of ART and an heirloom piece for your family to have and remember that little slice of their life. It is something that will be passed from generation to generation and the only visual way your heirs will see what you looked like and the love and emotions you expressed the instant that image was captured.

2025. You just found that DVD you had in that drawer you couldn't remember which one it was. Along with 9 old cell phones that no longer will work with today's new technology. Your 3 inch by 3 inch cube computer no longer has a DVD drive since in 2015 they were totally phased out. Your 3rd grandchild is sitting on your knee and asks to see pictures of their Mom- and all you have to show them is this piece of round plastic that is pretty much worthless. Not to mention dusty and scratched from all those old cellphones moving around every time you opened that drawer. And since Instagram had been merged with another company, and they started charging, you let that go 8 years ago.

I guess that makes you one of the "most photographed generation that doesn't have a photograph in 10 years". I guess it wasn't that important then. Digital was cheap.
Cameras were everywhere. It just didn't seem that important.

Lost memories are expensive.

John Kasaian
20-Feb-2016, 14:23
Hmmmm....job security for film camera and dark room geeks?
I like it!:cool:

Jac@stafford.net
20-Feb-2016, 14:47
Wilhelm, I appreciate your effort to express, once again among hundreds of similar posts, the penultimate statement regarding the future of photographs, however the photos to be kept in front of the public will, as it has always been, be by the judgement of certain critics, curators and historians.

So stick around and see what happens.

koh303
20-Feb-2016, 14:53
gmail is not going anywhere. So far so good.
I am sure someone wrote this exact stuff when labs stopped accepting disc/110/instamatic/pick your own.
Jpeg technology has not changed in over 20 years and i do not see how a change there will make anything about that obsolete.

Obsolete hardware is hard to use when it is past due, mass and universally used software on the other hand lives on and on. Microsoft DOS and Jpeg are only a few examples of how this works.

I have not used a DVD in a LONG time, and even though some LFPF member got super ofended when i said CD's and DVD's are already useless, they really are a thing of the past and have been for a long time.

The amount of people using instagram, FB and youtube, is so much larger then those who used floppy disks, their fate is not yet carved in stone.

bob carnie
20-Feb-2016, 15:15
Disks and Dvds ahhh not so fast.... I lost my drobo and my scanner hardware drive would not accept a stick - the only way I kept going till I got my Drobo back up was using Cds and DVDs and over the years they have saved my ass.

Leszek Vogt
20-Feb-2016, 15:31
Let me get out of my cocoon and slap a DVD on. I rent films this way and with the outfit that carries (here) 125K titles....I don't see them going anywhere fast. The sky is not falling yet, Bill.

Also, some people listen to advise of other photographers, subsequently they triplicate their digi or film files and even keeping the copy away from their properties. Well, others likely don't take the pics v. seriously.

People are free to make their own decisions....some of those can turn to mistakes = life.

Les

koh303
20-Feb-2016, 15:35
where are all those negatives and or photos of grandmas wedding? Are they in a thrown away album in some garbage heap? some crumbling old paper that needs "restoration"?
Some people who care about their photos will work hard to preserve them, most people dont, and never did, and those photos today are as worthless and not worthy or preserving as ever.

IanG
20-Feb-2016, 15:55
where are all those negatives and or photos of grandmas wedding? Are they in a thrown away album in some garbage heap? some crumbling old paper that needs "restoration"?
Some people who care about their photos will work hard to preserve them, most people dont, and never did, and those photos today are as worthless and not worthy or preserving as ever.

Negatives stayed with the photographer, prints remain in families. My Grandparents wedding was shot on 10x8, 12x10 and 15x112 cameras and the prints are almost as good as the day they were printed.

Today with Digital everything can be lost with a click of a mouse accidentally, sure physical prints can be lost in extreme circumstances as well but it's far less likely.

Ian

Bill_1856
20-Feb-2016, 16:16
Sorry, I can't claim this. Like so much stuff, it was sent to me anonymously by a relative.

Bill Burk
20-Feb-2016, 16:56
Sorry, I can't claim this. Like so much stuff, it was sent to me anonymously by a relative.

Oh yeah, it sounded familiar...

It's been out over a year. Which demonstrates how all those photos will be preserved. They will be floating around!

This is generally credited as the source: Lost Memories are Expensive
A Blog written by Mike Yost Photography


https://mikeyostphotography.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/the-most-photographed-generation-will-have-no-pictures-in-10-years/

Randy Moe
20-Feb-2016, 17:03
"So it goes." (http://www.avclub.com/article/15-things-kurt-vonnegut-said-better-than-anyone-el-1858)

Sirius Glass
20-Feb-2016, 17:14
My daughter takes many digital photographs of my grand children, but she learned from me that only prints and negatives live on. So she and her husband make multiple prints of many of them and send them around to the family so that they are saved in many locations. So at least one family will still have photographs. The rest are on their own.

ic-racer
20-Feb-2016, 17:16
You posted something you did not write, without quotes or a source?

jp
20-Feb-2016, 18:25
You posted something you did not write, without quotes or a source?

As a jaded reader of news, I always look for bylines or sources and trust nothing that is not attributed.

https://mikeyostphotography.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/the-most-photographed-generation-will-have-no-pictures-in-10-years/ is the apparent source.

koh303
20-Feb-2016, 19:12
she learned from me that only prints and negatives live on
I dread the thought of what other archaic and anachronistic notions you passed on to the next generation, making their chance to escape the mental gridlock slim to none.

Randy Moe
20-Feb-2016, 19:48
Please be polite.

Sirius Glass
20-Feb-2016, 19:50
Let me know when all of your digi-snaps dies from a head crash or neglect. Look up what happened to the Lunar survey photographs taken before the Apollo landing. You do not know as much as you claim to know about the lack of archival survivability of digital data.

Sirius Glass
20-Feb-2016, 19:52
Please be polite.

Randy unfortunately those who know the least blow the hardest. I considered the source of that prior post.

Roger Cole
20-Feb-2016, 20:32
Let me get out of my cocoon and slap a DVD on. I rent films this way and with the outfit that carries (here) 125K titles....I don't see them going anywhere fast. The sky is not falling yet, Bill.

Also, some people listen to advise of other photographers, subsequently they triplicate their digi or film files and even keeping the copy away from their properties. Well, others likely don't take the pics v. seriously.

People are free to make their own decisions....some of those can turn to mistakes = life.

Les

Me too. I both rent and buy Blu-Ray discs as well as DVDs. I like physical media. I'm watching a movie on Blu-Ray tonight.

Wayne
20-Feb-2016, 20:55
Isn't a Blu-Ray what killed Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin? They are best watched from a distance.

Roger Cole
20-Feb-2016, 21:44
Um, no. Physical media for high-definition. I have a 1080p 3D projector in a home theater, 5.1 surround. DVD looks acceptable but blu-ray looks way, way better.

Nodda Duma
21-Feb-2016, 05:57
I never stopped shooting film and in fact am diving into even older processes.

But I did venture into the digital world with a Leica point n shoot, and I've owned iPhones for a long time ('08 maybe?). Some were turned into prints, but most have not passed beyond the external hard drive where they are stored.

The first digital photos I took 12 years ago are still around.

The iPhone pics from '08 are still around. (Just checked. Still there)

And to be fair, most of the photos I've taken going back to the early 90s are still around (even after going through a moving van fire).

So, I think it's safe to say that a statement like all the digital photos will be gone in 10 years is pretty much false. In my household, it's a fair bet -- barring an act of God -- that they will still be around.

Iluvmyviewcam
21-Feb-2016, 07:30
OP...that is good. No one could even begin to look at the output of the estimated 2 billion cell phone cams out there. Most of it is just for the moment anyway. Once people lose their digital memories they may take more care of them.

Film only goes so far. Much of what is done on digital could not be done on film, or at least done as well.

Absolutely, the print allows a backup for the digital photog.

nsfw

https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/the-master-print-for-the-digital-photographer-is-what-the-physical-negative-is-for-the-film-photographer/

bob carnie
21-Feb-2016, 07:38
I see no difference between a digital file and a negative original or positive.

I can print all three with technology I have in house.

I can convert all three into BW negatives to make permanent prints in either colour or BW processes

We know that film - silver processed properly will last - I just finished printing a show of 100 year old negatives that were in perfect shape.

I am making separation film for digital only photographers and making pt pd and tri colour gum overs.

I had the chance to have a conversation with one of Canada's chief conservators recently and after seeing the film we produce, as well the prints we produced, his comment
was what was significant about our process is that in 150 years someone will be able to take the separation films and recreate exactly what we are producing today..


All of Salgado's images that come from digital capture are being converted to silver film via LVT recorders... I do not understand the fear of Digital.

Jim Noel
21-Feb-2016, 09:42
Well said Wilhelm.

Sal Santamaura
21-Feb-2016, 09:50
Well said Wilhelm.You mean "well copied." :D


Sorry, I can't claim this. Like so much stuff, it was sent to me anonymously by a relative.

Corran
21-Feb-2016, 11:20
Blah blah blah, the onus is you/us to make and save prints. Digital media has the potential to outlast anything else. I am sure there are many stories of people misplacing film negatives or prints.

This air of superiority with analog is just ridiculous.

TXFZ1
21-Feb-2016, 11:39
Fire, I know of atleast four family collections that have been lost to house fires. One or two prints have been saved by digital photoshopping but that is the devil's work.:D

David

Corran
21-Feb-2016, 11:45
Right, any kind of off-site backups are the safest, online cloud storage being an easy solution for that.

barnacle
21-Feb-2016, 14:35
Until the cloud company goes belly-up...

It's not that digital is longest-lasting; it's that by keeping abreast of storage technologies you can replicate your data *exactly* as the storage and the media changes. Certainly offline in the cloud is probably simplest, but I'd be reading the terms and conditions carefully, I'd probably choose a filing mechanism that provides a fast check for bitrot, I'd probably use an uncompressed format (any form of compression is subject to significant data degradation on a single unrecoverable bit error, while uncompressed affects only the one pixel with the error) - and I'd have it in more than one place.

Neil

Corran
21-Feb-2016, 15:12
Well I don't think Google is going away anytime soon - and you get 15GB free with a gmail account.

Wayne
21-Feb-2016, 15:19
Fire, I know of atleast four family collections that have been lost to house fires. One or two prints have been saved by digital photoshopping but that is the devil's work.:D

David


You must have extraordinarily unlucky acquaintances. I'm in my 50s and don't know a single person who has lost a single photograph or negative to house fire.

How do thumb drives fare in house fires?

Sirius Glass
21-Feb-2016, 15:21
Well I don't think Google is going away anytime soon - and you get 15GB free with a gmail account.

Until the format changes or the OS changes and someone forgets to convert the software. A few years after that the conversion software will not be available. I have seen that happen several times. It happens to smart people too. See post #17.

Corran
21-Feb-2016, 15:33
Sorry but it's highly unlikely Google is going to have those kinds of problems. Either way, cloud storage is perfect for backups. I have a custom-built server here with 10 terabytes of storage, as well as multiple backups of client files and finished jpgs from film scans. Fire is still a serious concern but stuff on the cloud will survive in case of absolute catastrophic loss. One of these days I was planning on getting a full fire-proof solution for a backup HDD but not right now.

The negatives and prints would of course burn up instantly, and good luck making backup copies for off-site storage. My scans would likely live on in that kind of scenario.

Jac@stafford.net
21-Feb-2016, 16:05
You will re-think the persistence/duration of digital photos after your daughter posts a nude selfie. It will last forever.
.

AuditorOne
21-Feb-2016, 16:25
I doubt that anything we have done will last forever.

Some photographs last longer than others, even though they may not be the most deserving.

If you are really concerned about creating something that lasts a very long time, go carve a drawing on a desert rock.

Or perhaps a cave.

Willie
21-Feb-2016, 16:31
"All of Salgado's images that come from digital capture are being converted to silver film via LVT recorders... I do not understand the fear of Digital."

The fear is losing the images.
Drives crash. DVD's, CD's and the like lose information over time. A major solar flare can cause electromagnetic storms that may wipe out a lot of digital/computer memory. Cheap DVD's and CD's can lose information fast while quality discs last a number of years - but all lose information.

Then we have obsolescence. Zip Discs my Uncle has are not usable any longer. Even Iomega could not get the image files from them. Blu-Ray sounds nice but has its own problems.

None of this is perfect just as film is not perfect. Poor processing shortens the life of both negatives and prints, both color and B&W.

Nothing is perfect so we photograph as we want, print what we like and hope things last.

Kirk Gittings
21-Feb-2016, 16:34
You must have extraordinarily unlucky acquaintances. I'm in my 50s and don't know a single person who has lost a single photograph or negative to house fire.

How do thumb drives fare in house fires?

We lost all my Grandfather's records and memories to a house fire and I lost a significant thematic set of 4x5 negatives to a bizarre water leak-most of which had not been printed yet and represented considerable investment of time and $.

Willie
21-Feb-2016, 16:38
Blah blah blah, the onus is you/us to make and save prints. Digital media has the potential to outlast anything else. I am sure there are many stories of people misplacing film negatives or prints.

This air of superiority with analog is just ridiculous.

But with film it makes sense.

Corran
21-Feb-2016, 16:50
What makes sense?

Willie
21-Feb-2016, 16:51
You must have extraordinarily unlucky acquaintances. I'm in my 50s and don't know a single person who has lost a single photograph or negative to house fire.

How do thumb drives fare in house fires?

Peter Stackpole lost a lot of his work in the Oakland Hills, CA fire.

" a 25-year career with Life after it was started in 1936. Stackpole joined the late Thomas McAvoy and the legendary and better-known Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White as the entire Life photo staff. Stackpole's work graced 26 covers of the news photo magazine. He was the first to make informal photographs of film stars relaxing in their homes, giving fans more informative images than the studio portraits they were accustomed to seeing. Among those he photographed were Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Alfred Hitchcock, Ingrid Bergman, Orson Welles and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1991, Stackpole lost virtually all of his 60-year collection of negatives in the Oakland Hills fire."

--------------------------

My Uncle was very concerned about digital files for some time and finally started accepting it when a photojournalist he know was killed in 911 and his Compact Flash card survived to provide images. Most film in those conditions would have been in worse condition. http://www.billbiggart.com/911.html

I use digital as well as film, mainly large format film. Both provide enjoyment and images that I like. Framed with current Conservation framing practices helps give me a chance for the images to last their longest. I can't ask much more than that.

A "Carrington Event" with solar energy may well hit and wipe out most all of the non-protected electronic media. Film should survive - but the 1856 solar storm it is named after caused fires in telegraph office from all the juice coming over the lines. That happening might be a problem for my negatives and prints both. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

Maybe I should put tin foil hats on the computers and carry around a bottle of beer to put out the fires that might threaten my negatives?

TXFZ1
21-Feb-2016, 17:57
You must have extraordinarily unlucky acquaintances. I'm in my 50s and don't know a single person who has lost a single photograph or negative to house fire.

How do thumb drives fare in house fires?

I would think it would be destroyed just like any other physical object. Thankfully if it happened to me, I do not use thumbdrives to store my photographs.

David

jp
21-Feb-2016, 18:27
Statistically, people are more likely to lose data (nonexistant or inadequate backups, etc...) than images to a fire/flood.

I help everyday people and businesses with computers. I've seen it all, but am open to being surprised with new & stupid ways to lose data. Right now, cryptowall/cryptolocker is probably the main threat to digital data. Then failing hard drives without good backups.

Famous photographers have lost images to fire.. August Sander, F Holland Day and I'm sure many others. On D-day, Capa's negatives were melted by a darkroom worker, and d-day movie film was lost in the ocean on the return journey.

Having scans of negatives is a good backup of negatives where nothing practical or convenient existed before. I have dual offsite backups of scans and digitally captured image. Yes, media gets old and outdated and needs replacing often, but hard drives are cheap and convenient. Formats seem to change less frequently. I can still open raw files from my 2002 era Nikon D100. I can still open TIFFs and JPEGs made in the early '90s. Entirely proprietary formats should be avoided; if there is free software that can open the file, you're probably good even if the format's designer goes out of business. Those Raw files will have to get changed to something else at some point, but I expect it will be usable for quite a while.

Lee Rust
21-Feb-2016, 18:59
To transmit photos far into the future, print multiple copies of important images, label them well and send to as many people as you can. Some of them will survive for centuries.

Iluvmyviewcam
21-Feb-2016, 19:38
There is a benefit with digital that film does not have. That is the ability to make tons of exact duplicates and spread them far and wide. Of course, the electric has to be on to access them.

Iluvmyviewcam
21-Feb-2016, 19:42
To transmit photos far into the future, print multiple copies of important images, label them well and send to as many people as you can. Some of them will survive for centuries.

Yes, but many institutions reject them. They are already overloaded. Still spread them far and wide. If your photos survive and become aged, they become mare valuable. Take the 'Vivian the reclusive nanny' photos for example. Snapshots become worthwhile when they age 50 years.

Some of the film devotees admired Weston for burning his negs. It would seem those type of photogs don't really care what happens to their pix.

Online, The Wayback Machine is a good place to archive stuff.

Lee Rust
21-Feb-2016, 22:47
Yes, but many institutions reject them. They are already overloaded. Still spread them far and wide. If your photos survive and become aged, they become mare valuable. Take the 'Vivian the reclusive nanny' photos for example. Snapshots become worthwhile when they age 50 years.

I was thinking mostly of distribution to friends & family members, but local institutions would be nice.

I just finished making a photo book containing 80 shots from a recent family wedding and sent out a half dozen copies. Each of the pictures included date, location and names along the bottom so they will be identifiable even if the prints get separated from the book.

My brother has been working on a family photo history and many of the older prints from 1890-1970 have some sort of description written on the back. After that period and up through the early 2000's hardly any of the prints are identified. I'm guessing that the vast quantities of cheap color prints that were made during the mini-lab era were too overwhelming for most people to keep track of, while the relative scarcity and higher price of older snapshots, landscapes and portraits made recipients value them more.

Now that photos are digitally created and transmitted in such profusion it seems to me that hardly anybody cares what happens to social media or email images after more than a couple of days, no matter how worthy they might be. I'm fairly certain, though, that one of those wedding photo books will eventually get re-discovered inside a beat up cardboard box and some yet-unborn descendant will be able to see exactly how Granny Alex and Grandpa Jon looked on the day they got married back in January 2016.

barnacle
21-Feb-2016, 23:18
That last comment is instructive: we have family photos on three generations old that took serious research to identify: we knew *who* they were of, but we didn't know which was who... the metadata is as important as the image, perhaps.

Neil

DrTang
22-Feb-2016, 08:17
when did Kodak Photo CD's become unreadable by newer photo editing programs?

I still have a 32 bit machine somewhere, and a copy of older software that I should probably install it on to 'rescue' the images on my photo cd's

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2016, 08:22
Don't know but very annoying, Kodak! I pitched them and saved the negs.


when did Kodak Photo CD's become unreadable by newer photo editing programs?

I still have a 32 bit machine somewhere, and a copy of older software that I should probably install it on to 'rescue' the images on my photo cd's

DrTang
22-Feb-2016, 08:42
Don't know but very annoying, Kodak! I pitched them and saved the negs.

the scans are not even that good...but what a pain in the butt to go find the slides and re scan them

yes..I AM THAT LAZY

Drew Wiley
22-Feb-2016, 09:32
I don't know what all the fuss is about. The less idiotic "selfies" that survive, the better. Maybe future archaeologists will fail to recognize how stupid we really are.

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2016, 09:36
I don't know what all the fuss is about. The less idiotic "selfies" that survive, the better. Maybe future archaeologists will fail to recognize how stupid we really are.

No they will be exactly as stupid as we are. When will 'we' realize we are no smarter than our ancestors. We simply have more data and tools. We are not smarter.

Lee Rust
22-Feb-2016, 10:43
We are not smarter.

Sad, but true. Smarter phones, dumber people. Here's some related data...

https://theconversation.com/exposed-to-a-deluge-of-digital-photos-were-feeling-the-psychological-effects-of-image-overload-52562

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2016, 10:59
Sad, but true. Smarter phones, dumber people. Here's some related data...

https://theconversation.com/exposed-to-a-deluge-of-digital-photos-were-feeling-the-psychological-effects-of-image-overload-52562

Nice article.

I find 35mm rolls too long and have started bulk loading 12 frame rolls.

I also carefully shoot my iPod daily with a manual app, edit in camera and upload. Then delete all files from iPod. It has only 16GB of storage...

Now I am building a DIY 11X14 camera.

Today I quit my Condo Board as nobody can stay on topic. I will concentrate on simple life for the duration.

Artistic solitude is very hard to obtain.

barnacle
22-Feb-2016, 12:02
I'm baffled.

A degree-level course on 'how I feel about taking a photograph'? Has the world gone mad?

As for using a mobile phone as a camera... well, it is perhaps the worst device possible for making an image, ergonomically speaking; it can't be held stable, the image can't be seen in sunlight, the controls are on the viewfinder - and perhaps worst of all, the majority of people have the damn thing pointing the wrong way! Just say no.

Neil

fishbulb
22-Feb-2016, 12:08
Regardless of the media, people will find ways to save the important photos. The rest will go by the in the trash, as they always have.

When someone dies and you're going through their old photo albums, what ones do you save? I have done this a few times, and I can tell you, every time, it's the people photos.

All the rest of it - the sunsets, the food, the forests, the flowers, the landscapes, etc. - meh, no one really cares, it goes in the trash.

No matter how good of a photographer you were, unless you were some nationally-recognized superstar... then your survivors might save them for the future profit.

We only hear about Vivian Maier because an enterprising person actually *bothered* to look at her negatives, and then went to work telling the world about it, mostly for his own interests.

For every Vivian Maier, there are 100,000 nameless photographers whose archives were thrown in the bin, excepting, of course, a handful of family photos kept by the surviving family.

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2016, 12:27
I'm baffled.

A degree-level course on 'how I feel about taking a photograph'? Has the world gone mad?

As for using a mobile phone as a camera... well, it is perhaps the worst device possible for making an image, ergonomically speaking; it can't be held stable, the image can't be seen in sunlight, the controls are on the viewfinder - and perhaps worst of all, the majority of people have the damn thing pointing the wrong way! Just say no.

Neil

I used to agree, then I bought an iPod specifically for it's beyond excellent camera. I don't own a working 'Smart' phone and won't as I can use this $200 device for so many photographic purposes and make free VOIP telephone calls in any civilized area.

Yes it hard to hold on to, but I try not to drop it, it's $200.

It's also a light meter, sound meter, tape recorder, darkroom timer, research tool, aud nauseam. I never use it for music.

Also might make a handy weapon.

Moments ago it also became F Stop Timer, for free!

Drew Wiley
22-Feb-2016, 12:51
Who is going to sort through jillions of storage discs to decide which ones have sentimental or historic content? They're not like a box of old prints; they all look the same. Besides, lot's of people aren't even going to bother backing up files onto discs. Then today's storage media will become about intelligible as punch cards or cuneiform to future generations. I just wonder how many young couples are going to regret later in life that they didn't have a single quality photograph taken of their own wedding day. What if King Tut left us a disc of photographs of his tomb and not the real thing? Would you stand in line at some museum to see it? The archaeologists would probably label it as an ear ornament anyway.

fishbulb
22-Feb-2016, 13:26
I just wonder how many young couples are going to regret later in life that they didn't have a single quality photograph taken of their own wedding day.

I think this is a valid question, but there really aren't that many people with that problem - most weddings have at least one semi-professional wedding photographer and plenty of casual photos. If "quality photograph" means something that looks nice and is printable up to 8x10, very few people have this problem. Not everyone needs or wants a 24x36 print of their wedding day.


What if King Tut left us a disc of photographs of his tomb and not the real thing? Would you stand in line at some museum to see it? The archaeologists would probably label it as an ear ornament anyway.

What to do with photographs is a relatively new problem.

For around a hundred thousand years of human "civilization" the only people who had any records kept about them were kings and popes. For the other roughly 100 billion people (https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-are-the-demographics-of-heaven/), no records for future generations were kept at all. Most of our lives, our art, our photos, are not museum worthy. Dust in the wind.


Who is going to sort through jillions of storage discs to decide which ones have sentimental or historic content? They're not like a box of old prints; they all look the same. Besides, lot's of people aren't even going to bother backing up files onto discs. Then today's storage media will become about intelligible as punch cards or cuneiform to future generations.

You are assuming that photos are stored on "jillions of storage discs" which isn't really accurate. That might have been the case 10-15 years ago, but these days everything is backed up on server farms in "the cloud" - aka computers away from your home. It is quite easy to sort through your archives, whether it is a photo service like Flickr or Google Photos/Picasa, or if it's a social network like Facebook, or just stored in your email.

In fact, digital is superior to film/prints for archiving photographs in just about every way.

1) infinite copies can be created at no cost, so multiple backups are easy - unlike prints or negatives, which cost money to reproduce
2) storage is incredibly inexpensive (see hard drive / SD-card prices) - if not free (see flickr, google photos, facebook, etc.) - unlike prints/negs which take up physical space
3) off-site, and multiple backups are easy - unlike prints or negatives which require more space
4) organization is easy - embedded metadata such as date taken, facial and scene recognition, etc. makes organizing digital archives a snap - unlike prints/negs which must be hand-cataloged and labeled
5) image quality loss over time is not an issue as long as multiple backups are made - unlike prints and negatives which are vulnerable to heat/cold/damp/sun/oxidation/chemical breakdown etc (of course everyone will say, "oh but you can still see ansel adam's 70 year old negs clear as day" but that is him, a famous photographer. most archives are not stored in ideal conditions)
6) file format issues are not a serious concern, as the marginal cost of keeping the ability of software to read and convert old formats is zero or close to it. Photoshop can still read just about every digital image format ever created - and there is no reason to remove the feature either.

I actually think future generations will have it quite easy. Everything is automatically cataloged and backed up online. No more going through old family photo albums, trying to find original negatives for the sunfaded print on grandmas wall, moldy boxes of photos in the attic, losing whole family histories to a house fire... People's lives will actually be documented and archived, unlike 99.9% of human lives up to this point.

If you old curmudgeons would take off your rose-coloured glasses once in a while, you would see that the future is bright.

Drew Wiley
22-Feb-2016, 13:47
Yeah, what is the value of this box of discs on Antiques Roadshow? And unless the box is labeled "Undiscovered CIA Secrets" why would anybody bother reviewing them. What makes you think the next generation or the next or the next will even bother backing things up on inevitably changing technology. My mother kept my hand written grammar school report cards. Even the damn draft board wouldn't accept my college grades on punch cards. Just holes in a piece of paper. Yeah, I found another legal way around em, after a LOT of headaches, but just goes to show the difference between something which can be assessed at a glance, like a real photographic print, no matter how old, and something that requires a complete chain of intermediate technologies to evaluate. Besides, who gives a damn about some half-baked digital file unless Bigfoot or a UFO is legitimately on it? And a fire which burn negatives and old prints will likely burn everything digital too. How many of you own actual data safes? They are, after all, much more expensive than simple fire safes intended to protect paper documents. Us old "curmudeons" have had our hand on actual photographic prints almost two hundred years old. I'd be surprised if most digital takes are going to be preserved for twenty. This is a fastfood culture and the electronics industry knows it. The fast things go obsolete, the better they like it.

Drew Wiley
22-Feb-2016, 13:53
Oh sorry, forgot about the "cloud". No doubt that will be a prime target if there's ever another all-out war or some loonie terrorist act bold enough. And it will be
ancient history itself soon enough. I prefer the tangible. There is no backup to a print. There might be to an image in the abstract sense. There are millions of copies of the Mona Lisa in books and on the internet, but only one actual painting. That's the way it's meant to be.

fishbulb
22-Feb-2016, 14:00
Yeah, what is the value of this box of discs on Antiques Roadshow?

Again, few people back up on discs anymore. It's all online. I haven't burned a backup disc in like five years.


What makes you think the next generation or the next or the next will even bother backing things up on inevitably changing technology.

Because it is done automatically for them by the social network, photo sharing service, etc. You can check old great-grandma's facebook profile long after she's dead, download her photos, make copies, etc.


My mother kept my hand written grammar school report cards. Even the damn draft board wouldn't accept my college grades on punch cards. Just holes in a piece of paper. Yeah, I found another legal way around em, after a LOT of headaches, but just goes to show the difference between something which can be assessed at a glance, like a real photographic print, no matter how old, and something that requires a complete chain of intermediate technologies to evaluate.

That is an interesting anecdote from several decades ago. Note that, ironically, your problem was with analog technology not digital.


Besides, who gives a damn about some half-baked digital file unless Bigfoot or a UFO is legitimately on it?

Who gives a damn about a print of a tree by a lake unless Bigfoot or a UFO is in it?


And a fire which burn negatives and old prints will likely burn everything digital too. How many of you own actual data safes?

Again, your concept of digital backup technology is out of date.

This is the nice thing about social media and multiple, inexpensive, easy-to-replicate off-site backups. My photos are stored at home, in a data center in LA, and another data center in Denver.


I'd be surprised if most digital takes are going to be preserved for twenty.

Plenty of digital information from well over 20 years ago (1996) is still around.

Drew Wiley
22-Feb-2016, 14:51
Digital preserves digital files, not the real thing. You are not replicating anything - you are converting it into something else. MY photos are by definition incapable of being digitally preserved because the entire point of making them in the first place is to end up with a specific PRINT which expressly represents my own intentions, not that of some geek a generation hence. But I feel the same way about the photos of my ancestors. Tactility. Not some 1950's "B" SciFi experience with a brain floating in a big leyden jar of fluid, tethered to tubes and wires for endless "virtual" experiences. Gosh, I'm walking up a hill Saturday with my Norma - me - not that far away from my 70's. Then a group of high school boys starts up the trail and has to stop every few hundred feet to gasp and catch their breath. A few more years of virtual exercise playing computer games and they will have to be tethered to their high-fructose corn syrup IV with their brain being kept alive in a jar. That ain't life by my definition. Nor can a print exist in cyberspace. I want the real deal.

barnacle
23-Feb-2016, 02:37
What if King Tut left us a disc of photographs of his tomb and not the real thing?

Y'know, I'm *sure* that somewhere in one of my old photography books, I have come across a comment that the oldest known photogram dates from the time of the pyramids; a leaf that's photographically etched into natural bitumen and has caused the bitumen to harden differentially...

Neil

Roger Cole
23-Feb-2016, 03:03
when did Kodak Photo CD's become unreadable by newer photo editing programs?

I still have a 32 bit machine somewhere, and a copy of older software that I should probably install it on to 'rescue' the images on my photo cd's


Don't know but very annoying, Kodak! I pitched them and saved the negs.

Eh?

I used to get Kodak Photo CDs back from Dwayne's. (Now I just get a plain CD in a plain white CD sleeve.) The scans are all .jpg files. I can read them fine, though granted they are compressed jpgs.

Darko Pozar
23-Feb-2016, 03:10
Having scans of negatives is a good backup of negatives where nothing practical or convenient existed before. I have dual offsite backups of scans and digitally captured image. Yes, media gets old and outdated and often needs replacing but hard drives are cheap and convenient. Formats seem to change less frequently. I can still open raw files from my 2002 era Nikon D100. I can still open TIFFs and JPEGs made in the early '90s. Entirely proprietary formats should be avoided; if there is free software that can open the file, you're probably good even if the format's designer goes out of business. Those Raw files will have to get changed to something else at some point, but I expect it will be usable for quite a while.

To date, even with the latest digital information and technology there seems to be minimal permanent standardisation of digital storage. Seems so far that no one has even come close to a resolution.

All upgrades and changes within five years need to be constantly performed and maintained. Even Cloud based companies have already folded and many have lost countless images. The Ultrium System, where images are stored on magnetic tape, is a fairly new medium (introduced in 1998) and claims to protect images for 30 years. USB sticks can last 10 years, however they have to be plugged into a computer port to recharge their circuitry. Blue ray may last up to 10 years and re writable CDs 5 to 7 years.
NAS systems seem to be a viable alternative where the "ports" can be changed over frequently and stored at various locations. Portable Hard Drives when recovered only reproduce 'most' of your files yet of course many can be lost. Also, Jpegs lose their information and bits each time you open them and also an unstable format.

Perhaps software emulation can create a software environment that allows computer programs to run on a different platform than they have originally been written for. Thus writing an emulator for an old obsolete computer system allows old programmes to run on a new computer. So with the help of the emulator, file formats used on the old system can still be read on a new system?

Roger Cole
23-Feb-2016, 03:11
Who is going to sort through jillions of storage discs to decide which ones have sentimental or historic content? They're not like a box of old prints; they all look the same. Besides, lot's of people aren't even going to bother backing up files onto discs. Then today's storage media will become about intelligible as punch cards or cuneiform to future generations. I just wonder how many young couples are going to regret later in life that they didn't have a single quality photograph taken of their own wedding day. What if King Tut left us a disc of photographs of his tomb and not the real thing? Would you stand in line at some museum to see it? The archaeologists would probably label it as an ear ornament anyway.

No they don't "all look the same." Oh sure the discs do. But put them in the computer tray and in a few seconds I can have a display showing me thumbnail sized previews of each image. Click one to look at it full sized. It's quicker than going through a physical photo album.

The media may become unreadable but this stuff doesn't happen overnight. There will be plenty of time to copy it to new media, flawlessly. (I still have a computer than read a 3.5" floppy disk, but I'm weird. I even have an antique that can READ 5.25" 360k discs but it would be difficult to move files off it. I could hook up a null modem cable to it's RS-232 serial port and to a modern computer via USB to serial cable and probably use a terminal program to move them, but most people aren't geeky enough to pull that off.)

I too have every digital image I ever made aside from those I intentionally deleted. I doubt I could ever FIND all my negatives. In a sense the digitals are easier for me to keep. I always know where they are (duplicates on multiple hard drives.)

jnanian
23-Feb-2016, 06:20
hi Bill_1856 ,

thanks for this (re)post.
its nice to think of photography lasting a long time
but even in the day of the mini lab print a lot of it was
not processed to last a long time. i was privileged enough to be
able to digitally remaster old family heirloom photographs, some old, some older
and some of them weren't in the best of condition. its been a problem
that has plagued chemical photography, probably since the early days when
photography was invented in france and the first ephemeral images were made.
while i think the most photographed generation loves making and sharing photographs
or digital images, i don't really think it matters to some of them if their images can't be printed out
or saved. if they are on the internet they are indexed and will last a long time anyways, ... so it seems
a lot of the imagery is uploaded so they are probably safe.
even if things are printed it doesnt' assure they will be around, plenty of things can happen to
cause trouble, even to the most archival of images.
i lived in a house years ago and had hand made books of archival images in my closet on a shelf in safe-storage.
and it turned out the fellow who was supposed to have the roof fixed enjoyed his 12 years old scotch enough that he
forgot, and well, lets just say he was "sorry" ...

archival is just a word anyways, and no one seems to know what it means.
i figure ashes to ashes &c

Michael E
23-Feb-2016, 07:28
It all depends on the effort. If people keep their digital files only on their phone or laptop, they are waiting for accidents to happen. But many people didn't treat their negatives or prints with care, either. Both systems have a reasonable lifespan, if you take some precautions. I try to process and keep my negatives and prints properly and I'm confident they will outlast me (without a fire or other accident). I also use digital a lot and try to keep the data safe (DVD and hard disk backup, with DVD proving to be more reliant). I can't scan all my film, and a can't make prints of all my digital images. I stay within the medium and do the best I can within my possibilities. In the end, my son might just toss them anyways...

David Lobato
23-Feb-2016, 08:37
Subject matter makes a difference. Scenics seem more disposable, if I lost some in a fire it's different than if I lost old photos of family. I can accept losing landscape photos, after all, who can turn down another excuse to go out again on another photo shoot? But we can't repeat photos of family and friends. Those snaps were a split second in human time and never to be repeated. People don't get younger for another photo op. What we have now is all we got from that time ago.

iml
23-Feb-2016, 09:31
I think people confuse the fact that not so many people make prints any more, being content to put their images (whether family or "serious") onto social media etc, rather than in little envelopes of prints which end up in a shoe box in the attic, with longevity. Personally, I like prints, I always prefer to see a physical print of a photograph if I can. But I also have scans of all my negatives going back over more than a decade, and all my digital photographs from the same period, on my computer, backed up regularly to more than one device, and remotely as much as possible. I see no reason to believe any of these files (TIFFs, JPGs, and other extremely well-known and well-documented file formats) will become unreadable overnight. True, I have to ensure I don't lose them all in a house fire, but if I did, I'd lose all my negatives and all my prints too. And I've already lost many of the family photographs of me growing up, divided up over the years between various family members, negatives lost or scratched, prints torn, bent and faded because they were not stored properly or were made by photo labs using non-archival print methods (i.e., most high street colour prints of the 1970s and 1980s). Concerns about longevity are as old as photography itself.

jp
23-Feb-2016, 12:05
Jpegs lose their information and bits each time you open them and also an unstable format.


Jpegs are not an unstable format. They only lose info upon saving changes. If you duplicate them to newer media, they are unchanged. If you view them, they are unchanged.
Jpeg is not an ideal format though as it does not support as many bits of color as we'd like.

I'm also skeptical of the cloud companies as a primary place to store data. Practically speaking, they do a better job than most people can do them self, but that's not good enough. Google provides "Takeout" so you can backup your cloud as you wish, which makes it much more palatable. Cell phone snap gets backed up to the cloud so if your phone falls in the toilet, no lost data. Lose your gmail account, you should have done a "takeout" backup, and you're good.

StoneNYC
25-Feb-2016, 13:24
Tech changes.

You have to move with it, silver gelatin prints are no good to Instagram until you convert them into a digital format.

The argument that some floppy disk doesn't work anymore is just as irrelevant.

It's your own fault for not converting as tech changes.

It's like complaining that they no longer make the chip for your 286 computer to read your WP5.1 documents.

Or that they don't make the proper spike for your cotton gin any longer and you can't make new thread for your clothes.

Changing with the times is essential to survival, that's what evolution is about, those who can't change will die out.

The images in 10 years will exist if the person who took them cares enough to make sure they do and keeps up with the times.

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2016, 14:06
So how many generations are you going to blame for not bothering to convert a bunch of arcane photographs into newer storage files? One has no control over that dilemma unless you're somehow worthy in being in something like the Library of Congress. The entire track record is like a blink of the eye. People have already lost all their images on the cloud. Call it their fault, so what? A few entire libraries that went exclusively digital have lost everything. Blame whomever. Blame it on Norma the part-time help. How many of those are going to show up over the years with less than perfect training is gosh knows how many platforms? It's a mess today. But it's hard to make a million books simply disappear without an obvious explanation. At least fire extinguishers are predictable. You want something actually archival? Try clay tablets and cuneiform. They've lasted thousands of years. You want to talk evolution? How come common sense designs like turtles are still around while not a single fancy true dinosaur of the gosh know how many thousands of species still is? And like I already implied, backing up mere data or basic visual information of potential historical value might make perfect sense, but it's no substitute for a personally made print when that is our intent to begin with. Anything else is a fake. What good are JPEG's on a wall? Pretty damn ugly at best.

Corran
25-Feb-2016, 14:20
I notice that some in this thread are addressing the original time frame (10 years) and other are considering other metrics (100's of years). Whether or not any of our images are around in many centuries does probably depend on notoriety or perhaps just luck, rather than the current medium they are on. And some of us probably have an inflated idea of how long their images will actually last!

Regarding actual library archives, I actually have some experience with this, through classes on research and bibliography as well as currently managing a hybrid archive of audio recordings (digital audio on physical media). These things are constantly in flux. At one point in time I was told by another archivist that CDs are always archival. I took serious umbrage with that and as technology evolved that idea changed and is now generally not held as true. Dealing with digital audio I am right now working on a server-based archive which will have physical backup and hopefully eventually a Cloud backup, managed in-house, but frankly this project will not get done before my time is up here being that it was held up due to poor management in another department. Anyway, that's another story altogether, and my post is starting to look like something Drew would write so I'll shut up. (:))

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2016, 14:21
So now let me dispute your point, David. Say we don't give a damn about "scenery" in the usual stereotypical baloney version you refer to. The earth as you a
I know it will change in many aspects more in the next hundred years than in the last ten thousand? Just look what has happened in the past century. Lands have
utterly changed, entire once abundant species has disappeared, now the arctic is melting, and coral reefs and rainforests are rapidly disappearing. Every single
glacier in Glacier Natl Park is likely to be gone is less than twenty years. Vast pine forests are dying. Island nations which people vacation on will be underwater soon, not to mention Miami. It's happening now. So artistic or not, pictures might be all we've got. Sizable glaciers, miles long, that I photographed as recently as fifteen years ago no longer exist. There goes the turquoise blue waters of all the lakes below. Species shift. The whole ecosystem is forced to change. Now try to imagine what happens to the world's four most populous nations that depend of glacial melt for most of their water? At much smaller scale, I can think
of a great many "landscape" photographs that I took here in California that can NEVER be taken again, simply because of the plague of suburbanization and
asphalt. Where is the great American prairie that Lewis and Clark encountered? 99% gone. Where are our great old growth redwood forests here on the coast?
98% gone. Where is our Serengeti of California with vast elk herds and grizzly bears? Dammed, drained, and extinct. How many photos are left of that? Damn
few.

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2016, 14:28
Now ... since it's apparently my role to be obnoxious as usual, do you have any idea how often my wife has asked me to download something from a medical
library that simply can't be opened, because almost nothing "talks" to it anymore. It's even worse with medical office records. Sometimes ONLY paper documents and a FAX machine are practical. And when she was at UCB, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, with one of the most aggressive computer tech depts anywhere, she had to work with eight different computer operating systems, a different one in each department, none of which were synchronized and still aren't all these years later. It's a wild West out there.

jp
25-Feb-2016, 14:32
While I'm very open to computers and digital storage of photos, one aspect yet unmentioned is the digital display of photos.

Stuff we made in the 90's was meant to display on a CRT display and print on who knows what (lvt output, textronix phaser, linotronic recorder, etc...) Recent digital images may have been meant to display on a LED backlit LCD display and printed on an inkjet.. 15 years down the road, display and print technology is apt to be very different. Thus we have to change our thinking to that of an image not being a print object, but a computer file that will display and print differently as times goes by.

Yeh, wet silver darkroom workers often print different as tastes change, but they don't have to change. Papers may change, but there are products relatively similar.

Randy Moe
25-Feb-2016, 14:36
Now ... since it's apparently my role to be obnoxious as usual, do you have any idea how often my wife has asked me to download something from a medical
library that simply can't be opened, because almost nothing "talks" to it anymore. It's even worse with medical office records. Sometimes ONLY paper documents and a FAX machine are practical. And when she was at UCB, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, with one of the most aggressive computer tech depts anywhere, she had to work with eight different computer operating systems, a different one in each department, none of which were synchronized and still aren't all these years later. It's a wild West out there.

Yep.

Sure, maybe one day we will have unified systems and storage in water, but not before it all gets lost in the Sea of Confusion.

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2016, 16:17
I wonder what Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" would look like on a digital display panel. Would anybody even bother to look? Might as well be a backlit billboard for
corn chips.

Sirius Glass
25-Feb-2016, 16:56
So how many generations are you going to blame for not bothering to convert a bunch of arcane photographs into newer storage files? One has no control over that dilemma unless you're somehow worthy in being in something like the Library of Congress. The entire track record is like a blink of the eye. People have already lost all their images on the cloud. Call it their fault, so what? A few entire libraries that went exclusively digital have lost everything. Blame whomever. Blame it on Norma the part-time help. How many of those are going to show up over the years with less than perfect training is gosh knows how many platforms? It's a mess today. But it's hard to make a million books simply disappear without an obvious explanation. At least fire extinguishers are predictable. You want something actually archival? Try clay tablets and cuneiform. They've lasted thousands of years. You want to talk evolution? How come common sense designs like turtles are still around while not a single fancy true dinosaur of the gosh know how many thousands of species still is? And like I already implied, backing up mere data or basic visual information of potential historical value might make perfect sense, but it's no substitute for a personally made print when that is our intent to begin with. Anything else is a fake. What good are JPEG's on a wall? Pretty damn ugly at best.

+1

Are your children going to handle the up keep for the digital files? Yeah, right.

Corran
25-Feb-2016, 17:00
How many children have thrown away negatives?!?! It's a silly argument - it can/will happen to either digital or film images.

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2016, 17:26
Yep. Nearly all the negatives got thrown away by my family too, that is, for those later images which involved negatives to begin with (not Daguerrotypes etc).
But ironically, you just proved my point! Negatives don't look like much. Digital files don't look like anything. But thousands of actual prints have been preserved. Why? Because they're perceptible by any generation; all you need is your eyes, not some convoluted "ancient digital languages" phD. They're tactile, you can quickly sort through them and flip them over to see the identity or event. Some are just plain lovely. Various antique processes that are downright different and highly interesting. Copying them for the internet might be useful for something like ancestry.com. But that's not why they were carefully preserved generation after generation in cedar chests and so forth.

Corran
25-Feb-2016, 17:45
In terms of actual photographic preservation, my personal opinion is that prints are nice, but hard to make quality reproductions of. Better to have the original negative/file. For example, one person in my family scanned a ton of old negatives and then just threw those negatives away. The problem is they were scanned with one of those cheap $50 scanners that make absolutely terrible low-resolution files with poor color and tonality. I can't go back to the original and make a better scan and any extant prints are faded, torn, or otherwise damaged, if they even survive. This is a problem with the actual curation and sadly was done before I was involved. You can scan and restore prints but that's a different situation and overall probably still better to have the original negative. The needs for family photos of course is different than art collections at galleries/libraries.

barnacle
26-Feb-2016, 01:10
We may be asking the wrong question. For the vast majority of us, there is unlikely to be a need to preserve images beyond our lifetimes. The question is more 'what do I need to do to be able to reproduce those images?' than 'how will I read them in five hundred years?'.

A basic premise in *any* processing issue is that you start with the original. It is the only medium which contains all the information as originally present. With the original negative, you can follow the steps to recreate an existing print - if the chemistry, paper, and necessary notes about what you did - are available; you may be able to make a 'better' print than the original hanging on the wall. In a similar way, improvements in scanner technology may be able to extract detail from the negative that an older scanner could not: more resolution, more greyscale steps. But neither of these are possible without the original negative.

Broadcast TV - my area of expertise for over thirty years - defines rigid standards for signal levels; the blackest black, the whitest white, the colour gamut, the number of bits per colour, the number of bits per line of image, the number of lines per screen, even the gamma of the display screen. Those standards ensure that any signal passing through the broadcast chain - from the original camera or storage system, all the way to the final transmission coder - is as technically good as it possibly can be. I strive, when scanning my negatives, to achieve the same results: a scan which is ideally at the native resolution of the sensor (i.e. not interpolated or extrapolated), a fully developed negative such that the blackest parts are very close to zero (but not below), and the lightest parts are very close to the maximum white value (but again, not above). With that I can be assured that I have as much information as is available to the scanner for any further digital processing - but it's *not* the same as the negative.

So - keep the negative. Label it, date it, document it, wrap it in safe acid free paper... it will probably outlast you and me. If you print, document it. If you scan and post-process, document what you did. But mostly, if you care about your image, keep the negative.

Neil

TXFZ1
26-Feb-2016, 06:30
I wonder what Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" would look like on a digital display panel. Would anybody even bother to look? Might as well be a backlit billboard for
corn chips.

If you are seeing corn chips, then it may be time to visit your eye doctor. Just watched the Van Gogh: A Brush with Genius documentary on 4k and I enjoyed it as much as when I visited the Van Gogh museum.

David

Drew Wiley
26-Feb-2016, 09:17
Talk about needing glasses! Do you also enjoy the taste of virtual food?

Drew Wiley
26-Feb-2016, 09:30
Corran - restoration for historical or sentimental purposes is one thing, photography as intended by the original photographer is obviously another. I've done lots
of historical restoration of photos back when we used forensic film techniques. Now it's obviously easier digitally. I've recovered print images that went through
fires. Lots of early media have no extant negatives or never did to begin with; but I've reprinted lots of old negs too. It was good side money, and still is for certain people. I have a friend who publishes lots of local history books and recovers and all kinds of so-so photographs. It's fun and useful in an educational and
hisorical sense. Most of us with the right kind of copy gear could take an old Carlton Watkins print all damaged by mildew and reproduce it in a much more readily visible manner. I mention him because there are many of his damaged prints in this particular neighborhood, even a dealer. But not one of these could be called an original, or give a hint of the sheer subtlety and grandeur of the original albumen contact prints. And they would even legally fall into reproductions and be worth relatively little. Of course, that kind of work has been necessary to created various published monographs; but frankly, all those images totally bellyflop too, compared to the originals. Of course, I do the same thing too when more than one family member wants a copy of some particularly interesting
or important ancestor portrait. I make a few agreeably similar fakes and send them. But everyone knows the difference.

Sirius Glass
26-Feb-2016, 14:44
+1

Are your children going to handle the up keep for the digital files? Yeah, right.


How many children have thrown away negatives?!?! It's a silly argument - it can/will happen to either digital or film images.

Negatives and prints can survive left alone in a box or in a drawer. Digital files cannot.

TXFZ1
26-Feb-2016, 14:45
Talk about needing glasses! Do you also enjoy the taste of virtual food?

Don't know anything about virtual food as we are discussing visual arts.

David

Sirius Glass
26-Feb-2016, 14:46
We may be asking the wrong question. For the vast majority of us, there is unlikely to be a need to preserve images beyond our lifetimes. The question is more 'what do I need to do to be able to reproduce those images?' than 'how will I read them in five hundred years?'.

If a photograph could survive for 500 years, it is likely that the human body will still have the capability to see that print on paper without any special equipment nor with any special software.

TXFZ1
26-Feb-2016, 15:04
Saw this on another site and thought it fit very well here.

http://youtu.be/kQFKtI6gn9Y

David

Drew Wiley
26-Feb-2016, 16:48
Well, I too love good art books and informing documentaries. But I truly learn more from seeing exactly one genuine Van Gogh, or Rembrandt, or Vermeer, or
Manet painting than every book or documentary in existence. Especially with people like Van Gogh and Jackson Pollack, you can feel the intensity of every brush
stroke, the genius that went into it, get into their mind one to one. Rembrandt's same self-portrait which looks merely clinical in the best of books is utterly stunning in person. The buttons aren't yellow, they're gold. I could say the same thing about trying to reproduce Fresson color pigment prints into a published
medium - a lot inevitably gets lost in translation. And as someone who has indeed film-copied painting for either reproduction or forensic analysis,
I know how hard it is to give an impression of impasto or true color in a fully two-dimensional medium. And when polarized light becomes necessary, it always
affects color. I'm not decrying any of these secondary media as an educational tool, or as a kind of back-up record; but I am saying they are never a substitute
for the real thing.

AuditorOne
29-Feb-2016, 19:29
Oh, I suspect that just as many families will have some photos of their past lives as do right now. Maybe even more.

I have to question some of these doom and gloom posts that make some pretty broad assumptions based on unconfirmed information. I don't know how you would really know how many people had good family photo records back in the "good old days" vs those who have them now? Even what surveys may exist have to be plagued with some pretty high error rates.

Sorry. Didn't mean to get in the way here. Please continue speculating. :D

Willie
1-Mar-2016, 08:43
"Broadcast TV - my area of expertise for over thirty years - defines rigid standards for signal levels; the blackest black, the whitest white, the colour gamut, the number of bits per colour, the number of bits per line of image, the number of lines per screen, even the gamma of the display screen. "

Yet many older TV shows and broadcasts are now lost to us.

Drew Wiley
1-Mar-2016, 10:02
Millions and millions of photographic prints from the 19th C still exist and remain accessible to anyone with eyes. That is a track record. You don't need to download a new operating system every six years just to tread water long enough not to drown, or need to break into the Tech Museum at night to steal parts for
some ancient piece of technology you bought twelve years ago. It's not doom and gloom. It's common sense. You're born with eyes, not USB ports.

TXFZ1
1-Mar-2016, 11:44
I have prints and that is my final product and the purpose of photography. I enjoy my prints and work on my craft to make photographs. It is doom and gloom cause you think it's the digital file that makes the photograph, again common sense.

David

Sirius Glass
1-Mar-2016, 11:48
Millions and millions of photographic prints from the 19th C still exist and remain accessible to anyone with eyes. That is a track record. You don't need to download a new operating system every six years just to tread water long enough not to drown, or need to break into the Tech Museum at night to steal parts for
some ancient piece of technology you bought twelve years ago. It's not doom and gloom. It's common sense. You're born with eyes, not USB ports.

:)

One does not need to pay licensing fees to Adobe or Micro$oft to use ones eye. Often the best solutions are in front of ones eyes, but they have to open them to see it.

barnacle
2-Mar-2016, 00:38
"Broadcast TV - my area of expertise for over thirty years - defines rigid standards for signal levels; the blackest black, the whitest white, the colour gamut, the number of bits per colour, the number of bits per line of image, the number of lines per screen, even the gamma of the display screen. "

Yet many older TV shows and broadcasts are now lost to us.

Indeed they are. Most at the time were considered ephemeral, and recording tape was regularly reused for cost reasons - it was *expensive* stuff.

But my point is this: because care was taken at the start of the process to ensure the technically best pictures, where archives have survived they do not suffer further from later use (if the medium survives; tape is notoriously finicky about its storage conditions, which was not fully appreciated at the time). Compare the difference between a broadcast TV 'repeat' and a VCR copy of the same show; the differences are obvious. But compare a PVR recording: it's bit for bit identical (assuming decent reception) and cannot be told apart except by experts (if it can, your PVR is broken!).

The negative is the best thing to store because it's the primary source. The best scan you can make of the negative is probably the second best - followed or equalled by a scan of the finished image.

Neil

AuditorOne
5-Mar-2016, 18:51
Millions and millions of photographic prints from the 19th C still exist and remain accessible to anyone with eyes. That is a track record. You don't need to download a new operating system every six years just to tread water long enough not to drown, or need to break into the Tech Museum at night to steal parts for
some ancient piece of technology you bought twelve years ago. It's not doom and gloom. It's common sense. You're born with eyes, not USB ports.

Could you point me to your sources that show that millions and millions of photographic prints from the 19th century still exist. I haven't been able to locate that.

And I am fully aware that we are discussing actual prints, not digital files.

I do believe that there are lots and lots (unknown numbers in other words) of digital snaps that are taken for the moment with no intention of keeping them. But I am also pretty sure that there are also a lot (again, unknown quantity) of digital photographs taken that become prints. Just anecdotally, I always have to stand in line at my Wal-Mart to use the machines to order prints from my digital files. There are a lot of Wal-Marts so it just stands to reason that what I see is being repeated in many other locations across the US. Additionally there seem to be a lot of digital photo labs on-line that are doing a decent business.

However, it would certainly be interesting to see some actual numbers put to this.

For example, do we believe that there are more people taking digital photographs today than there were taking film photographs back "in the day?"
If so, how many are actually making prints?

To me this is just another digital vs film. Digital is bad because no one prints anymore, film is good because everyone printed. I shoot both ways and print both ways but I do understand those people who don't have the time to go through the old analogue processes. For them digital is a great way to get family photos.

Drew Wiley
8-Mar-2016, 10:16
Oh, is this thread still going? It's common sense, Auditor. I don't know how many hundreds of BOXES of old prints I have personally stumbled onto in attics and
storage chests, just me. Wal-Mart itself will be long extinct within that period of time; unfortunately, a number of photographs of their ugly building are likely to
remain. But yeah, the fact that less people are printing their shots means a lot less are likely to survive. But then, they're shooting a helluva lot more because
they're not typically buying film. What on earth do you need a WalMart in Elko for? Gosh, it's been raining like heck here, and I gotta confess I've been drooling over the topos, thinking of a return trip to the Rubies up there. Those crags surrounding Echo Lake sure are interesting, but couldn't get quite that far last trip
due to all the lightning activity. I shot 4x5 color neg, while my friend did still and time lapses of stuff after dark via digi. His shots of the light show (spectacular
sunsets, endless lightning, and finally clear sky with a meteor shower) were ideal for sharing with friends on the web; my film shots are obviously going to be
vastly better for making a decent sized print on the wall. To each his own. Just having fun, either way.

MAubrey
8-Mar-2016, 10:27
What a funny thread.

This is nuts!

Drew Wiley
8-Mar-2016, 11:20
So what's going on in Bellingham? I've been looking at topos up that way too, mostly around Mt Baker, Glacier Pk, Shuksan, etc. Hopefully there are no Wal Marts
up on the glaciers.

MAubrey
8-Mar-2016, 12:43
So what's going on in Bellingham? I've been looking at topos up that way too, mostly around Mt Baker, Glacier Pk, Shuksan, etc. Hopefully there are no Wal Marts
up on the glaciers.
I've heard good things from friends about the backpacking around Baker and Shuksan. I myself only moved here in October. I'm much more familiar with the backpacking on the other side of the border in the BC Coastal Range.

Ted R
31-Mar-2016, 09:44
Methinks the OP (Mike Yost) do protest too much !

There is a store in every local town here in the USA that makes prints on demand from digital files, it is an automatic Kodak kiosk that accepts USB, SD, MMC, CD, DVD, pretty much everything, and it gets used enough that it still there in 2016. I think plenty of people still purchase prints, maybe not so many spend $1000 with a professional photographer, but I don't agree that the future is printless.

Now I WOULD be worried if the digital file format .jpg became obsolete, we all use that everyday, it has lasted a long time and I hope it is maintained in future digital operating systems :-)