This is a guest post by Trevor Rumsey.
A couple of weeks ago I was reading the November 19th, 2012 issue of People magazine which talked about some of the stories of rescues and survival around the recent superstorm Sandy that hit the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
One article entitled “Found in the Wreckage” (pages 58-59) caught my attention. The article spotlighted eight different families whose homes were destroyed by the storm.
It showed each of them holding the possession that they grabbed as they frantically abandoned their home to escape the storm and save their lives.
As I was reading the article I started to put myself in their place and to think about what would I take if I only had enough space and time to grab one or two things?
As I thought on this it didn’t take long to come up with the answer.
If this was your entire photo collection sitting in this trash can in the photo above, would this make you actually feel relief … or utter panic?
What if I added to this scenario. What if to the best of your knowledge, all of your photos sitting in the trash were already scanned and safely backed up on a couple of your hard drives.
Do you now feel relieved … or still utterly panicked?
From everyone I have talked to about this scenario, it seems safe for me to say that I believe the world is in somewhat of a divide whether it’s actually okay to throw away your prints and slides once they have been scanned and digitally preserved.
And for some, hopefully not too many, I am sure they would say it’s okay to throw away many if not most photos before they were scanned and preserved.
Yes. You heard me.
If you’re looking for something to store all of your 35-millimeter slides in, you should consider checking out the slide file made by a company called Logan.
It’s a very nice all-metal box with a hinged lid, two metal clasps to keep it shut and a little handle to carry it by.
I bought three of these because I actually couldn’t find what I thought I was looking for, which were these small, little cardboard boxes that hold maybe 70 or so slides that my dad had been using for many, many years to keep his entire slide collection in.
The Logan Slide File is about US$29.95 a piece. When I bought mine they were $26.95 so they’re not cheap. But almost anything slide-related seems to carry a premium right now in the digital era. But from every slide container I found, this seemed to be the best.
I was very happy to read that this slide file box has been made for about 40 years now and for those who like buying US products, you will be happy to know that they’re all made here in the United States in the City of Bartlett, Illinois.
When I first started scanning my photo collection, I starting out writing on the back of my prints with a fairly dull pencil. However, I pushed down extremely lightly though as to not etch through to the other side!
But, you know, I just really hate using pencils now.
I’m an adult now. I already had my fair share of NFL pencil sets in the 1980’s. I feel like I have moved past pencils in my life.
What I really wanted was a decent ink pen that I could feel safe using on photos and slides. And if I had to make a list of the qualities I was looking for in particular, it would look something like this:
My Dream Photo Pen Criteria:
Photo safe, Non-toxic, Permanent ink, Fade resistant, Dries quickly, Will not smear once dry, and Won’t bleed through.
Did this one pass the test?
Guest post by: Art Taylor
If you’ve been reading the post comments on this website in the last month, I’m sure you’ve seen 1 or 7 detailed comments from a man named Art Taylor.
I haven’t met someone in some time who is as passionate about preserving photographs as he is. And since he’s been so generous sharing his scanning experience with others, I couldn’t help but take him up on his offer to write a few guest posts for us.
Art has been an amateur photographer for over 40 years, taking close to 50,000 or more slides and negatives on film. But, what really got my attention was his love for trains. Even though I can’t say I have ever ridden a real train — just miniature ones in amusement parks — I just love them. Most of Art’s photo collection was taken of trains and railroad-related subjects.
I just came across this very positive and endearing article about a woman by the name of Rebecca Manson who volunteered for six months, working to save other people’s flood-damaged photos.
At first, I thought it was going to be a completely negative story. Valerie Zehl starts out the article on Pressconnects.com telling us about a horrible situation that Ann Olsen of Endwell, NY found herself in last September.
Valerie explains that, “Ann’s Castle Gardens home was inundated. Hundreds — including one-of-a-kind shots of her late mother and brother — were underwater. When she could get to them days later she tried to make ‘photo sandwiches’ with absorbent material between the wet pictures, but could do only a few of them.”
At that moment while I was reading this, I felt so bad for Anne. I really can’t imagine what that must feel like to look down at these “smelly, flood-muddied crates” and know that what’s left inside used to be all of your priceless photographs.
If you’re having problems just coming up with a suitable place to safely store your family’s photo collection, just think what it would be like storing the 15 million photographs, negatives and glass plates that make up this Corbis collection!
PopPhoto recently posted this video from CBS “The Early Show” that gives us a rare look inside of Iron Mountain, a 150 acre maximum security cold storage facility (vault) 220 feet below ground in Boyers, Pennsylvania in what used to be a limestone mine. These photos that are stored in a part of this space go back to the 19th century — 150 years — covering celebrities, athletes, presidents and iconic historical moments.
Take a look at this fascinating 6 minutes of video:
Unless you have found a way to scan your entire photo collection in a pre-organized “beginning to end” kind of way, I’ve found you’re going to need a way to know tomorrow, or possibly months later, whether or not you have already scanned a particular photograph.
And you’re going to want to know by just looking at a print or slide in front of you – without booting up your computer to do a search. Trust me.
The problem I discovered when I started scanning my collection was unless I was immediately moving the slides or prints I had just scanned to a different storage place – a new photo album or new archival pages for example – I would sometimes forget whether or not I had scanned some of them!
I am really excited to share this information with you. Where I discovered to store all of my paper photographs wasn’t what I had in mind when I went looking for a place. But when I found it, I instantly knew it was going to be my favorite place to store them forever.
Imagine my happiness when I discovered something that was archival quality, better and more functional than standard photo albums. Several companies make these PVC-free plastic photo pages using a safe material called Polypropylene. They’re surprisingly clear and lightweight, and are meant to hold photos on both sides. And they’re actually fairly affordable when you buy them in bulk.