Ponderous it might be, and though I just pulled it out of my arse it's entirely possible someone used the same obvious phrasing.
Originally Posted by brass majestic
You can disagree but I still think it's true as a generalisation with the only exceptions being people who significantly change the world AND are recognised for doing so. See Ozymandias and note that those exceptions still don't have a habit of lasting very long in historical, let alone geological, time-frames.
The whole thread begs the question of "why do we care whether our efforts are recognised?", if not merely for our ego? Once you're dead, you won't care. If your photos have the ability to effect real change in the world then I can agree that there is value (beyond that to your ego) to their preservation but such works generally get noticed before the author dies. It also implies a bit of a double-standard - some people consume books of photos from famous photographers but most photographers don't do even that. We generally don't go seeking out the lost works of unknowns, so why expect that someone will do that for us? Especially considering that it's now 2012 and photography is a highly accessible medium with billions of images produced daily.
I can give only tiny guidance to those who want to have a legacy: get really famous or failing that, document your family in high quality and leave detailed notes as to date and subject identity. Your family are the only ones who may consider for a moment not discarding your negs, and if they're pictures of canals, we know what happens. That might work for 2 or 3 generations but then entropy (fire, flood, theft, loss, disorganisation) will win.
With current growth rates in digital media capacity, the advent of flickr and whatever distributed "cloud" services replace it, I suspect that (scans of) my photography will live on. Maybe. But I'd put even odds on my stupid usenet posts or whining on APUG outliving my photography. The only thing that's entropy-proof is redundancy and recopying, and that means digitising your work.