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  1. #1
    pstake's Avatar
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    How do you archive / store negatives

    Just wondering how people store / label / organize their negatives. Particularly those of you who have led / lead itinerant lifestyles.


    If you stay in one place forever, it seems to me that the easiest answer is a filing cabinet and labeled folders. Maybe not? Anyway, just looking for ideas from people who have been "shooting" longer and therefore have likely accumulated more negatives than myself. Most of mine are 35mm, some are 6x7 ... the great majority of them, I will never print again ... but there's always that remote possibility, right?

    I have four or five dust-free boxes and plain old notebooks, with negatives in protectors, some with contact sheets ... and some labeled, some not labeled — for the last year or so, I've labeled everything.

  2. #2
    Peltigera's Avatar
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    I keep negatives in Kenco negative sleeves which are labelled with camera, film and date. These are scanned in and kept on the computer stored in directories/folders named after the camera, sub-directories/sub-folders named after the film and then individual JPG files named after the camera with a sequential number. That makes is fairly easy to locate a given negative when browsing or searching the jpg files.

    I do not bother with contact prints as the computer files take on that role.

  3. #3
    rthomas's Avatar
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    Since about 2009, I've gotten very organized. I use the typical plastic pages for everything from 35mm all the way to 8x10 negatives, usually Clear-File. They go in binders sorted by film type (35mm, 120, etc) and by year. I don't usually write what camera/lens was used (most of the time I will know just by seeing the image) but I do keep notes on the development of the film in that page.

    Before 2009 was another story. Between 2003 and 2008 I was largely d*****l and so nothing I shot on film during that time is organized. I still have uncut rolls just rolled up, waiting to be put in a page.... All my work from 1992 to 2003, slides and negatives, is in a pair of portable file boxes, in plastic pages or archival envelopes. I rarely open these boxes as it is a real nightmare to locate one image out of the thousands there...
    “For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
    ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

  4. #4

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    Many folks use the Printfile system, made, I think, in Florida. If you search this forum for negative storage, etc, you'll find other threads for this same question.

  5. #5
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    I am like others. Everything goes into a clear file page suited to the format.
    I store them, usually with contact sheets in front of them, in 3 ring binders.
    I reference a page as to year, month, and film number developed in that month.
    I find that works best to isolate about when the shot was made (at least the last ones on a roll).
    It correlates well to a lab notebook I keep to record what developers I have been using, and for how long, dilution, etc. Sometiems this information gets transferred to the neg filer page.

    I try to keep the binders to 1.25" and no thicker. Some years take 2 binders. they go in per neg page number.

    I tried isolating 35mm from 120, from 4x5 in the past, as well as b&w and c-41 and e-6.
    Since I print from all of these for a given desired pirnt image, it was too much hassle.

    I hate to think how it might have spread if I indexed per camera.
    Some cameras I might only use for a simgle test roll after I refurb it and onsell it or give it away confident that it works.
    My camera collection varies between 10 and 40 depending on how much I have been able to move at a swap meet I attend annually, and what gets gifted to me or I pick up chaep at estate auctions.

    For the last 10 years I use binders with a transparent cover.
    When the binder gets full I write out an index sheet with information as to neg page number, format, film type, and the sort of images on each page.
    I find this is suitable to aloow me to locate images modestly quickly.

    If I have done a commercial type assignment the neg page numbers the images got filed to gets written on an extra print, or more often an extra contact print that lives with the assignment file in my filing cabinet. Then when an organisation or person returns in the future ( as they seem to often do, I can find the neg for a reprint,. scan, etc, most quickly.
    I do between 3 and 10 such assignments a year, for the past decade, so filing the files of these assignment folders by year works alright for me so far.

    I keep a binder in the darkroom called 'contact sheets backlog'. It has dividers in it divided up to b&w, ra-4, and reversal prints, and a scratch sheet inside the cover as to the films in it. I try to number the films as they are sleeved.

    Hope this gives food for thought on how you might want to organize yourself.

    I confess that between 1999 and 2003 I lived semi- itenerantly (mostly based, for a medium term contract I was working on in Brisbane) and we had our first born at the same time.
    Those years image records are just filed with negs in filter pages. No contact sheets (almsot all were c-41 commercially developed and printed), or indexing on them.
    If I did get around to indexing them most would be summarized to say 'first son (or more specifically, first grandson on both sides) general photos for the relatives'.
    my real name, imagine that.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Collier View Post
    Many folks use the Printfile system, made, I think, in Florida. If you search this forum for negative storage, etc, you'll find other threads for this same question.
    Printfile in binders for me, with contact sheets adjacent.

    Each roll is given a code that corresponds to the date exposed (plus a letter when I have more than one roll in a day) and any scanned (or in rare cases, fully digital) files are kept in computer folders with the same style of codes.

    The binders are separated by years - busy years get bigger binders or even two binders each.

    Printfile are APUG sponsors, and have an easy to use website for ordering too.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7
    pstake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Collier View Post
    Many folks use the Printfile system, made, I think, in Florida. If you search this forum for negative storage, etc, you'll find other threads for this same question.
    Thanks, George. That was a rewarding search. I use Printfile sheets, too.



    Matt — you're far more organized than I can ever hope to be. But I may copy your binder(s) per year strategy.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    pstake:

    One thing about the system I'm currently using is that it works fine if you start right now with current shots. That way at least current and future work will be organized.

    You can always decide later to add older work to the system.

    Oh and one further hint. If you are unsure about which date to use, and the shots aren't themselves date critical, then educated guesses work fine.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9

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    Don't like printfile sleeves because any sliding action to insert or remove a negative or strip of negatives presents a risk, particularly on the base side. This is most relevant with respect to 35mm due to the high degree of enlargement - even very fine "micro" scratches on the base side of the negative can sometimes show up in the print. I much prefer fold-lock sleeves for everything from 35mm to sheet film.

  10. #10
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    just some print file sleeves 7 rows of 6 exp. each. Also print file 6x6 12 exp. sleeves. Flattened and then put in binders. Ive got a bad habit of not labeling them lol.

    This thread reminds me of the Mexican Suitcase, when I went to see it last year at the ICP, Capa's, Taro's, and Chim's negatives were just rolled up and stuck in divided cardboard cases.

    http://museum.icp.org/mexican_suitcase/



 

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