The average person takes care of digital the same they would film. For most people, that fire or flood would likely destroy their pictures regardless of format.
Originally Posted by sepiareverb
As I've said before, I put consumer images in two categories: memory and conversational. Traditionally, consumer film images were mostly in the memory category. When I worked on color paper at Kodak in the '70s, I would see customer prints coming off the processors with two (and sometimes three) Christmas celebration photos on one roll of film. Some consumers cared about their prints and placed in in photo albums which survive (for example, I have many from my parents); others really didn't care a lot and put the prints in shoeboxes which may, or may not, survive. Consumer digital images seem to be mostly in the conversational category - but there still are digital memory shots. Those that care will have them made into photobooks (as my two daughters have) which will last; others will leave them on memory cards, CDs, etc and most won't survive. I'm not sure there is any real difference between film and digital in the number of CONSUMER memory photos that will survive long term.
With care, images will last. Without care, they will disappear. This is true for both film and digital.
The difference is that the fellow I spoke with has been passively led to believe by the industry that his photos on CDs will last as long as those prints and negatives of his grandparents in shoeboxes.
Originally Posted by Prof_Pixel
He thinks this because in the shoebox case he's already seen it happen. And because he's been told over and over that digital photography is exactly the same as film photography,* he also expects his CDs to behave exactly the same as grandma's pictures did in her attic shoeboxes.
You know better. I know better. And the industry that sees fit not to level with him also knows better.
It's true. With care, digital images will last. But the problem is, no one is telling him what level of care is really required to make that happen. And that compared to a shoebox, the volume of care is enormous over time.
So he's putting his precious CDs into shoeboxes and (not unreasonably, from his perspective) expecting to get the same results. And that's a crime.
* For the love of god, don't get me started again...
"They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."
— Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs
Please drop me a note if you want info on some very good dip and dunk C-41 labs in San Clemente. Just a quick trip up the 5 or by mail.
Without guys like John Coltrane, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, life....would be meaningless.
Really great to see all the comments here in favour of film, it gives encouragement to keep shooting in the face of comments like...you have to accept "progress".......progress towards what?....No one seems to have an answer to that one.
I hope the hierachy at Fuji etc., read this site, they might think twice before discontinuing film lines.
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Well yes, in case of disaster, neither will survive. In both cases, there has to be a backup system of sort, if that is important to the photographer. Let's not forget that because of digital and the internet, we have become an ADD society that loves to consume and throw away, so the idea of saving images for posterity just doesn't register for most people these days. They take it for granted and, when they are gone, they may not even care. All I know is that I'm still printing negatives from my parents wedding in 1963 and family affairs from 1966-1969, while I have very few decent images (on film) of my own kids back in the late '90s and non-existent or crappy ones from one of the first digital Kodak cameras I bought. Today of course, digital can offer outstanding quality but one really has to pay attention to storage, and printing those important images for archival purposes. It's kind of inexcusable at this point, because if one is even concerned about inkjet archival properties, it is now possible to make quite flawless digital negatives to contact print on silver gel, as lith prints, or beautiful alternative processes.
Originally Posted by sepiareverb
I think I live in a bit of a dream world, because all I do to take care of my negatives is to store them in archival clam shell binders, in Print File sleeves. Should a tornado strike, or a fire, all of that will be lost. In the end I wonder if that isn't a good thing. Perhaps it's good to print a piece of film in only a small series and then destroy it? I don't know.
Originally Posted by MaximusM3
But with my limited resources, I could not care for digital files properly either. With my complete lack of attention to detail when it comes to backing up even my work computer to an external hard drive, I would ruin something on my own, no doubt. Mostly, however, while digital offers amazing possibilities (anybody who says it doesn't needs to have their head checked), I just don't want to be bothered with the minutia of it. I can say that I have had many CDs and DVDs fail on me, and recently one external hard drive that just stopped working. I've had a memory stick fail, a few that only works sometimes, floppy disks (anybody remember those? It wasn't that long ago, actually), even internal hard drives of computers.
My conclusion is that both film and digital archives can be archival in nature, but I'm willing to bet about 95% of all people are not willing to put up with the effort it takes to make it so, let alone the cost. And to do this in perpetuity, with files amassing. After 40 years of shooting digital, will you REALLY go back and check all those old files from way back when? How do you insure compatibility? Will you even care?
There have been reports of how much it costs to store movie films in archival manner, and the comparison to film is just staggering, where digital sometimes approaches 100 times the cost. Is it worth it? Who knows? We all die at some point, and when we do, not many people will be examining our film negatives or digital files, but they might look at prints, and perhaps find value in some of them. Recently I printed an almost 50 year old negative that was from my dad's first roll of film, a portrait of his father's father, and it came out absolutely beautiful with modern day quality. That ability to have an end product that will last for a long time is nice. So I make film negatives and I print in the darkroom, because it's easy and doesn't involve any head aches surrounding storage. If disaster strikes, I can start again, but all the more reason to make prints and spread them out across the globe, to customers, friends, and relatives. Print print print, and do it well!
Last edited by Thomas Bertilsson; 09-04-2013 at 08:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
This is a good point and I'm one of those people who always assumed a digital file is completely stable. It's just ones and zeros on a cd or a chip. How/why would that degrade with time? I only shoot film so granted I know relatively little of the ins and outs of digital, but the point is as a layperson I've only recently become aware of the digital storage/longevity issue - mostly by continuing to read Popular Photography for some reason (even though there's nothing analog in there), and by reading about it on APUG of all places. How many people are aware some amount of information is apparently lost every time one opens a digital file, or that data can degrade over time? I still don't understand why that happens, but I guess it just does. It also never really occured to me data can eventually be virtually inaccesible as formats etc. evolve and become obsolete. Then there's the whole cloud thing, passwords etc. All too complicated for me. I just keep reminding family members and friends to at least print their digital photos.
Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick
[QUOTE=Thomas Bertilsson;1543963We all die at some point, and when we do, not many people will be examining our film negatives or digital files, but they might look at prints, and perhaps find value in some of them.[/QUOTE]
In the end, the photograph is the print.
To me, this is not so much about film v digital as it is prints v anything else.
Unless one of my descendants happens to be a photo bug, no one is going to be interested in a bunch of old negatives or a few TB of digital files. I am far more confident that they might find some interest in a shelf full of albums.
Cloud storage of digital photos is easy. Dropbox or Google+ will do it for you as soon as you stick the SD card into the computer, or with Wi-fi-cameras, as soon as the camera can get online. It's much harder to fire-proof negatives. On the other hand, you will have to write your password in your will.
Originally Posted by Truzi