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

  1. #31

    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    San Antonio, Texas

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    There is so much data created everyday of all kinds by everyone. There seems to be some idea that this information is so important it must be preserved. Why? Everyone wants to be remembered, I get it. But others could care less. How much info do we really need to store anyway? For what benefit, really? It becomes a time-wasting and boring job that few really care about except the storer.

    I've never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul.

    "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body."
    .... Ecclesiastes 12:12
    Yes, but at what point does one stop? The thought I was posing in the initial post was really one of historical use, family value and the general fun (or commercial value) we all derive from photography and our negatives. No one except my family who have watched me for hours waiting for the right light or traveling 300 miles just to capture a certain scene will appreciate it. They certainly won't print the negatives.

    Burning the negatives (per a Will) is interesting. We saw Brett Weston do this with little affect on the value of his prints or (IMHO) his notoriety. Not that either mattered to him in the end but he did have a plan. I have 12 of his prints and don't expect to sell or get rid of them as I think they are some of the best work out there. My kids may enjoy seeing them on their walls in the future but they will doubtfully assign any aesthetic or monetary value to them. I suspect my images will have a greater value to them than anything I've collected so that's something.

  2. #32

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

    Quote Originally Posted by h2oman View Post
    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. #33

    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    West Coast

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

    A more important question is "does it matter what happens to your negatives when you're dead and gone?" For the vast majority of us, its not going to matter one way or the other.

  4. #34
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Chester McCheeserton View Post
    Speaking as someone who just had to deal with my parent's estate, I'm in agreement. I will throw them out.

    If you haven't set up a will, and in particular if you haven't setup your assets to be transferred on death without going through probate, then you might want to look into it.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  5. #35
    Alan Klein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    New Jersey was NYC

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

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    As I've said in post #22, when I make photographs I often have in mind two historical societies, one in New York and one in rural Newfoundland. This became a factor when I discovered that there is very little photographic record of my New York Historic District or of the rural area where my Newfoundland summer home is located. I talked in post #22 about New York. A few years ago I spent some time in Dorset, Hampshire and Guernsey researching buildings, paintings and records that have a bearing on the history of my part of Newfoundland. I found a lot of material, some of it going back hundreds of years, but only six photos. They were negatives shot with a medium format camera by a gentleman who was important in both England and Newfoundland. I was excited until I had a good look at the negatives and discovered that they were all out of focus

    As part of that trip, I also learned a lot about southern England and the Island of Guernsey. I had only seen Guernsey before while crossing the English Channel in a sailboat (surfing a Channel Islands tidal stream in a sailboat at 18 knots - 21mph, 33kph - is quite an experience), and knew about Guernsey mostly from the wonderful, and important, novel The Book of Ebenezer Le Page. I also acquired a better understanding of Guernsey's complicated World War II history, and visited Victor Hugo's home in exile (he had accused Louis Napoléon Bonaparte of treason), Hugo's approach to interior design being unconventional and interesting.

    Do I think that this is all "time-wasting" and "boring"? Not the words that I would choose.

    The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, NYRB Classics,
    Introduction by John Fowles

    Attachment 228828
    There's no end to a bucket list.

  6. #36

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    New York

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    There's no end to a bucket list.
    You think that I've lived for many years in New York and Newfoundland, and have an active interest in the history of those places and the work of my local historical societies, as part of checking off a bucket list? What an odd idea. If you're referring to Guernsey, I've been spending time in the English Channel, in particular on the Isle of Wight, for 30 years. Where do you think the people who worked in the Newfoundland cod fishery came from? In the 19th century, investors in the Newfoundland cod trade were among the wealthiest and most politically powerful people in England. Part of what I wanted to see, in Hampshire in particular (30 minutes by high speed ferry from Wight), were Georgian and Victorian mansions that they built. More contemporarily, where do you think the steelworkers who built our New York skyscrapers came from? A lot of them were from Newfoundland. The union hall, and their descendants, are still in Brooklyn

    There's no shortage of subjects for photographs, and no shortage of organisations that would be interested in them, particularly if they're well-documented and in digital form.
    Last edited by r.e.; 4-Jul-2022 at 21:08.
    Arca-Swiss 8x10/4x5 | Mamaya 7II | Leica M3, M240 | Blackmagic Pocket 4K
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  7. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

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

    Sorry for your loss, linhofbiker.

    Your circumstances bring up the crux of this matter, though. For most of us, whether our negs go in the bin when we die will depend on the sentimental attachment of our surviving loved ones, not the artistic merit or monetary value of the negs. I certainly can't imagine anyone would ever want to purchase my own, but I'm sure if I die before my wife, she will dutifully keep them all in a couple of boxes in the attic until it's her turn.

    If I know I'm on the way out, I will spare her the trouble and throw them all in the dumpster myself, and just prepare a portfolio of at most 20 or so images that she can keep to remember me and my obsessions. Same with the gear, I don't want to die and leave her with hundreds of lenses and cameras that she will have to hand over for pennies to the first shark who answers his phone.

  8. #38

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Jacksonville Florida

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jody_S View Post
    Sorry for your loss, linhofbiker.

    As I put together a memorial at our house I have found photos from 1967 when we met.
    When my mother died in 2009 there were thousands of B/W pictures and negatives of family history in the attic.
    Being the family photographer I assumed responsibility for them all.
    My wife and I made a family album over years of many prints on large sheets held in a loose file.
    I made 4x5 images of each page for my 2 sons.
    All this is meaningful to those family members still alive.
    My wife always wanted me to accomplish my stated goal in life of "living to 100 and knowing about it".
    As I approach this goal I hope I can dispose of my photographic tools and put stuff in the dumper so relieving my survivors this task.
    Perhaps when this happens around 2044 the digital world would have developed from today's "cloud" to something much better.

  9. #39
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

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

    What is the rush?

    Maybe in 20 years we have better recycling

    maybe we will need big negs as windows

    even air space insulation barrier


    Tin Can

  10. #40
    bob carnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Toronto, Ontario,

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

    I am on a mission to print all my edition prints before I kick the bucket, At that point I will give the master original negs to some institution or just destroy them, A lot of my original film is colour negative so nature will take its course on the film. I am not
    sure if I want to have anyone print my negs at this point, but if one of my apprentices stays with me and continues the business I may pass them on to her.

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