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Site & Board Matters => Rantatorials => Topic started by: Kevin Raber on December 02, 2015, 06:11:45 pm

Title: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Kevin Raber on December 02, 2015, 06:11:45 pm
Sometimes You Find Treasures

It’s all about the print.  Kevin Raber shares in this Rantatorial the how and whys of his commitment of Getting Back To The Print.  All it took was a hidden box of family photos to wake him up to realizing that the value of a photo is in the print and not the file.  You can read the article HERE (https://luminous-landscape.com/rantatorial/box-of-photos-my-wake-up-call/)
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Rusty on December 02, 2015, 07:29:40 pm
Kevin the print is important but just as important is the caption. I have a number of photo albums from my mother and her mother going back to the very early 1900's. Many of the pictures are carefully captioned with names of people, dates and places, that I would otherwise never know. Some of these places I have visited and compared the photo to the place today. I am in process of scanning these with the captions as some are starting to fade...
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: jed best on December 02, 2015, 08:22:39 pm
Hi Kevin,

Funny your rant is about Prints. I read an article a few months ago by a photographer, who I unfortunately cannot recall, discussing that will all the various RAW formats, cr2; new, dng etc, that the only way to truly preserve your images is to print them. Interestingly, now you have stated the same thing. As you know, as I respect both your experience and knowledge, this rant is extremely timely.

Jed
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: simonphotos on December 02, 2015, 09:58:50 pm
Very good article. My mother died six months ago and the photos we discovered photos off her as a girl we had never seen. If they had been on a phone or the cloud we would never have looked at them.
Personally I feel that Kodak missed the boat here. Till my knowledge they never ran a campaign about the necessity of printing your files to preserve them. Most of us have experienced losing images because hard drives die or we lose our camera etc. Why didn't Kodak run such a campaign? Or Fuji for that matter. It may have saved Kodak and is mini lab owners!!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Peter McLennan on December 02, 2015, 11:21:27 pm
"The only real backup is a print"
Me
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on December 03, 2015, 12:36:13 am
Kevin the print is important but just as important is the caption.
That is so true, Rusty!

I have boxes of old family photos. I think maybe 20% of them have some form of date or location on the back, and maybe as many as 25 or even 30% identify some of the people in the photos. The only living person who might have known some of the unidentified individuals is my 104-year-old mother, who remembers hardly anything about the past, even though she is still cheerful and happy.

So if you have old prints without captions, please talk right away to those who might be able to supply some information about them. Don't wait!

Eric
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Otto Phocus on December 03, 2015, 08:01:55 am

So if you have old prints without captions, please talk right away to those who might be able to supply some information about them. Don't wait!

Eric

These are wise words.  I am sure there are far too many photographs out there that are just images of unidentified people in unidentified locations. 

Someone at sometime knew who these people were and were they were.  But future generations won't.
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Roberta Frederick on December 03, 2015, 11:39:58 am
I am a genealogist as well as a hobby photographer. I can tell you that identifying those in old family snapshots can be very important to those who come after. There are entire websites, such as Dead Fred, devoted to people attempting to identify people in very old photos and to preserving and sharing those photos. I have been scanning, printing and displaying some very old family photos from as far back as the mid-1800s and feel so fortunate that someone in my family saved and labeled those photos. Visitors to our home who aren't related enjoy viewing them as much as family members. I enjoyed reading this Rantatorial and it has reminded me to finish scanning the rest of the photos that have not yet been done and to get them into photo books to share. Thanks~
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Telecaster on December 03, 2015, 02:03:47 pm
I like the fact that a good chunk of my childhood was documented photographically. Not so much with prints but with Kodachromes.  :)  But when it comes to my own photos I'm not that concerned with preserving them. The important ones to me are mementos of things I've seen and experiences I've had…but in the end it's the seeing & experiencing that matter. The mementos are relatively incidental.

(Attached pic from late 1960. I was a chubby little fellow.)

-Dave-
Title: Any chance of a follow up article on suitable printers ?
Post by: flbrit on December 03, 2015, 02:04:43 pm
I've started printing a few 6x4 on my Epson Artisan 835.

Its like the good old days of going to the Chemists to collect my processed film.

I was wondering about print longevity. My printer is dye ink rather than pigment and although I can print small on my 3800, its a pain because the tray collection is not good.

Will dye sub be better I wonder? I'm going to do some research myself anyway.

Great piece and the subscription is well worth the money.

Brian
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: flbrit on December 03, 2015, 03:32:34 pm
Looks like the Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab wins here according to a brief hunt around the net.

Brian
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Schewe on December 04, 2015, 02:55:32 am
Looks like the Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab wins here according to a brief hunt around the net.

The PictureMate is a good solution, but the P600/800 can also do 6x4 prints easily.
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Wayne Fox on December 04, 2015, 01:43:51 pm
Good article.  as one who has recently gone through hundreds of pictures from boxes trying to create a small visual memory for a loved one, the boxes of prints become very special very quickly.

We do live in a different world. Family snapshots have evolved from a “preserving memories” mentality to a “share the moment” mentality.  I see my kids snapping away with their phones simply so they can share it on Facebook etc., not even thinking about how important those images will be to them or their family in 30 or 40 years.  I know Kodak Alaris is aggressively trying to use this idea in some of their marketing of printing pictures to preserve them.

Interestingly enough however, I’m also finding the opposite to be true.  I can’t totally trust the print as a “backup”.  Already I see hundreds whose color has faded, some to the point of not being able to fix.  I also know it’s hard to share boxes of pictures.  So my quandary isn’t just about printing images to put in boxes, but also to scan all of those images so they can be shared and viewed by many, as well as perhaps preserved through some type archival storage site.
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Isaac on December 04, 2015, 05:51:52 pm
I can’t totally trust the print as a “backup”.  Already I see hundreds whose color has faded, some to the point of not being able to fix.

Wasn't it the negative we were supposed to trust as "backup"?

Of course, I kept negatives for decades and then threw them out just a few years before I would have been able to scan them ;-)

We should probably distinguish between recovering and restoring what we can from ordinary old prints, and intentionally creating archival quality material.


A year or two ago, I scanned a couple of thousand very ordinary (and very tiny and very poor quality ) prints -- and then applied a LR automatic adjustment to all the tiffs.

That was good enough to provide pleasure to the families; and for particular photographs, I've been surprised how much improvement can be achieved with - ordinary PP software, my level of PP skill, and a good deal of effort.


I also know it’s hard to share boxes of pictures.  So my quandary isn’t just about printing images to put in boxes, but also to scan all of those images so they can be shared and viewed by many, as well as perhaps preserved through some type archival storage site.

And "shared" by being brought to our attention for a few unexpected moments by a computer screen-saver.

Meanwhile I really should stop being perfectionist and just make good enough versions of the well preserved 1800s portrait prints I was handed back in the summer. Mea culpa maxima.
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on December 04, 2015, 06:15:49 pm
Wayne,

When I come across an interesting old print that is fading or becoming discolored, I try to scan it as soon as possible --- and then make a new print of it, because I don't trust the ephemeral digital version. I'm very much stuck in the mindset that "if it isn't a print, it isn't really a picture!"   ;)

Eric
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Schewe on December 05, 2015, 01:00:06 am
Interestingly enough however, I’m also finding the opposite to be true.  I can’t totally trust the print as a “backup”.  Already I see hundreds whose color has faded, some to the point of not being able to fix.

Sadly this is a Kodak Moment. Kodacolor prints are notorious for fading from the 70's and 80's because Kodak went with a far less stable processing and paper. Print from that time period should be scanned and corrected, if possible because they will only get worse with age :~(
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: bdbender4 on December 06, 2015, 09:54:25 am
I am with you Kevin, not only about the past but also in the present.  My mother in law and others love prints, and it's nice to have some around to hang on the wall or stick on a dresser top.  I'm talking 5x7 or 8.5x11", made from JPEGs, nothing fancy.  But I sure have been frustrated for the past ten years or so by consumer printers and software.  I will avoid naming brands... 

Cheap plastic, 35 cents worth of ink in a $12 cartridge, lots of ink wasted self-cleaning, heavy push on same-brand paper, each manufacturer out to capture as much market share as possible without cooperating with the others, crappy software on all sides.  I don't understand, for example why paper doesn't have a small mark on the backside that identifies what grade it is, with an industry standard for all the various types.  I'm not talking the fancy stuff here, just what you find on the shelves of your local office supply store. 

At the software level, Apple is fighting with Google so doing simple prints keeps getting harder - instead, they want you to use their cloud, make an album, automatically cluster things by faces, and so forth.  My Canon software can't keep up with Apple's updates, so it gets harder to use for prints.  Printing from wi-fi mostly only works within brands.

So I hope you can address some of these things.  I want to spend photo time taking photos, and I want to make simple nice-looking prints from nice-looking JPEGs, not sitting for hours at a computer.  Maybe you and Michael can get the ear of some of the industry types in your discussions.
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Wayne Fox on December 06, 2015, 10:49:04 am
And "shared" by being brought to our attention for a few unexpected moments by a computer screen-saver.
several ways to share the scanned images, especially portions of them. But you're right ... once scanned and stored somewhere they are relegated to much the same fate as that box of pictures shoved in a closet, most likely to be "discovered" after a major life event makes them important again.  Maybe a slight advantage to the box ... at least it's physically there and someone will stumble onto it ...

Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Peter McLennan on December 06, 2015, 11:05:56 am
A simple, cheap, easy to use 5x7 or 4x6 printer, please. Wireless, battery powered. Tiny. 
Epson? Canon? Somebody? You listening?
Make "good enough" printing a no-brainer for everyone.
Title: I just put my money where Kevin's article is!
Post by: flbrit on December 06, 2015, 12:32:21 pm
Coming Monday. Looking forward to a new toy.

I did hear the siren call of a P800 but wanted something my partially sighted wife could also operate and something located away from my office work space.

We will also take it with us in our travel trailer for 'on the road' prints.

All in all, it seems a great fit for our needs.

Brian
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: MikeRoss on December 06, 2015, 01:23:29 pm
Complete agreement - friends and family and other photographers have taken me to task for being a "luddite" and making prints.

While the digital representation of the image should, in theory, be immortal; the task of safeguarding the physical media and the continuous process of format and device conversions in order to preserve access as technologies change makes this a remote possibility for most images.
 
The combination of physical and virtual image management required for the digital domain is more complex than the preservation of a printed image (inks and light degradation etc aside). The lack of standards for image format complicates the situation (DNF anyone). Some physical images will not make it - many digital will not.

I do take pains to safeguard the digital forms of my images: regular backups to a separate device and the semi-annual archiving of the physical drives to storage. Cloud storage and backup? who knows how long or of what quality or privacy.

The ones you treasure need to be kept in both forms for as long as you care. Nice things about a print; you can hang it on the wall and the only technology needed to access it are your eyes and some light - don't get me wrong I am as technical as you like but some things do benefit from simplicity. 
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Ray on December 10, 2015, 12:10:46 am
I much prefer to see my old photos on a large high-resolution TV screen, and look forward to the day when large 4k OLED screens become affordable.

I have of course printed a number of scans of my old photos, preferring A4 size than 6"x4", but I definitely prefer to present my photos on a large TV screen rather than turn pages in an album, for either private viewing or for guests.

Hanging prints on the wall that one considers are rather special, is fine. My largest print is a 12ft x 5ft polyptych. When the prints eventually fade, they can be easily replaced because the digital file is virtually permanent, provided one uses multiple back-up storage devices, which is always recommended.

I'm very pleased with my Seagate 4-terabyte Fast Pocket HD. It's faster than standard USB 3.0 pocket hard drives and 4 terabytes is almost enough to accommodate all my scans and digital images.
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: DanLehman on February 03, 2016, 12:50:13 pm
Quote
the print is important but just as important is the caption
 

OTOH, I'm often indebted to the digital photo's EXIF data --my supplemental memory!


 ;)
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: dreed on February 05, 2016, 07:52:09 pm
I wonder if in 40 years time we will read about 60 year olds exclaiming about how they just uncovered a pile of pictures they took with their then brand new iPhone 6 or if all of those images will have been lost to facebook or Google or Amazon or Apple or ... lost passwords, forgotten accounts, failed companies, batteries that no longer work, no cables or chargers, etc,

If I died tomorrow, all of the photos on my hard drives would be lost forever. Reformated, sold on ebay, etc.

The prints on my walls would likely go on someone else's walls.

The albums of photos would likely end up in someone's attic.

If you died tomorrow, where would your photos go?
Would digital vs printed likely end up in a different destination?
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Herbc on February 27, 2016, 11:24:41 am
Indeed we all have the boxes full. My concern is with color shots.  I have b/w I made in studio 60 years ago that are still as good as when printed.
Do the new inks like the p800's pigments pass the longevity test? 8)
Title: Re: Box Of Photos - My Wake Up Call
Post by: Les Sparks on February 29, 2016, 10:23:24 am
It looks like life of color prints depends on luck. Some of the drug store color prints in my boxes are as full of color as I remember. Other prints in the same box are almost lost. And of course the ones that are almost lost some of the most important (to me).

As far as what will happen to my photos when I die. Some of the prints on my walls will probably be saved and most tossed. The photos on my hard disks will be lost unless I take special steps now to preserve them. This means that the record of my kids and grand kids growing up will be lost forever unless I print the important ones now. I've started doing this by making books.

I thinks it's really important to preserve some of my family history in printed photos. It'll help my grand kids for example to know that I didn't always have white hair and look like a grandfather--my kids could use the same reminder. All my memories of my grandmothers are of them as grandmothers. But I recently came across some prints and was amazed to discover that both grandmothers were beautiful. Changed my whole idea of who they were.

For most of us, even if we're pros, the family snaps that we neglect and store somewhere on our hard drives are the only really important photos we have.