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Thread: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    San Antonio, Texas

    What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon BUT I am in the process of scanning (drum, high-resolution etc) 30+ years of 4x5, 8x10, 6x6 and 617 negatives. While I have printed many of them, sold a few over the years and have some in process of going into a future book for the family, I realized that while they will exist in a digital realm on DropBox or other backup medium, there aren't too many things that will happen after that last shutter click and drop of photoflo going down the drain. If you aren't Adams, Sexton, Weston(s), Tice, Arentz, White, etc. etc. what happens?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    klamath falls, oregon

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    Throw them away before I die, to save someone else having to keep them until they decide to do the same! I guess if I wanted to be dramatic, I could have a party and burn them, but I'd rather not send out toxic smoke.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    The Netherlands

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    I've scanned the lot, but that only makes the question: what will happen to that?
    My commercial work, my customers have had them already. Just my copies.
    My family never showed interest in what I was doing, they didn't even knew what I did.
    The physical stuff: all in the bin.
    The website appearances: I stated in my will, that the accounts must be deleted.
    When all is over, I couldn't care less. if I'm not around anymore, I can't even do that.
    I own the gear, but those don't make masterpieces. My everyday experience.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    Often forgotten with the passage of time. Piles and piles of film (digital too) images from decades past and to this day. Many of these images cannot be made public due to usage rights (legal), many personal images cannot shared for a variety of reasons, other images are shared here and else where.

    Same question came up after the gift of the life's work from another well known local artist (images have been archived at UC Berkeley). The seller was going to toss them ALL out into the trash.

    Well over 300 Million images and as many videos are up loaded to just one Social Media outlet daily...

    Enjoy this ride while possible, Share what is possible.. It will ALL pass with the passage of time. Change and Impermanence is a given.


  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Humboldt County, CA

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    I hope to print portfolios for my sons -- am thinking about including the negatives with the portfolios.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Jacksonville Florida

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    My wife of 54 years died last Sunday. She died at home in bed with cancer. I awoke at 5:30am and held her hand. She died seconds later.

    She was a graduate in Interior Design (1966) from the U of Florida.
    We lived in Montreal from 1968 to 1978. I am English and she is American.
    Then we moved to Jacksonville FL.

    In the early 1980's she made a business out of her art talent as a painter particularly water color.
    She retired at 75 in 2019 after painting about 1000 watercolor paintings of mostly children (Gwen Cooper Portraits)
    My life long interest in photography allowed her to "take over" my cameras except for the 4x5.
    Over the years I would take an 4x5 E6 transparency of each painting for her records and the client could use it to make a giclee print of the original.

    Fuji E6 will last, but what do I do with them?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    The Highlands of Scotland

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    So sorry for your loss.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Montreal, Canada

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    I basically agree with Gregg. If I happen to know when Iím relatively near the end of the line, everything in a dumpster.

    Even big name photographers will, or probably should do the same. You made your art. Itís done.

  9. #9
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    shredder, already started . retina prints and other non fixed images are already grey, and a lot of what I make have no negatives so I am ahead of the game.
    Last edited by jnantz; 3-Jul-2022 at 18:29.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: What will happen to your negatives in "the end"?

    i am in the process of beginning to shred beginning with the newest ones. Those over 75 years old may end up with my children.

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