Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/21

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Film is Archival
From: "bdcolen" <>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 13:23:57 -0400

First things first - The stuff of your Dad's sounds fascinating Jim, the
kind of thing that might actually make a wonderful book...

I'm sure you realize how luck you are that, unlike countless people who
make similar finds, your box contained useable negatives rather than
scratched up, dust and mold coated, stuck together mush.

Sure, digital has its draw backs in that it has to be transferred to new
media when the technology changes - but how much easier it is to
transfer those images to the new media than to try to salvage old,
crapped up prints and negs.

But all of that said - they are treasures when you have - and remember
:-) - them.

B. D.

- -----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Jim Brick
Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2003 11:42 AM
Subject: [Leica] Re: Film is Archival

At 05:44 AM 6/21/2003 -0500, Eric wrote to BD:

> >Uh, hello? All of this discussion of archival media is fascinating, 
> >but would anyone on this list of hobbyists and working pros care to 
> >tell us what loss it would be to the world if some of our images 
> >faded a bit or just plain disappeared?
>To the world?  Nah...I'm not quite that vain.
>To my family?  I'd hope quite a bit.
>I'd love to be able to get my hands on well preserved B&W negatives of 
>my early childhood.  Or of my parents when they were younger.
>That I'm creating archival negatives is most likely of no consequence 
>or concern to anybody other than my family.  I'm having fun doing it, 
>and leaving a present whose worth can't be measured in dollars and 
>Back in college, I created a series of pictures of my dad's dad.  Those

>are the best pictures I have of him.  Wish I had done the same with my 
>other grandparents.  It's why I ignore my mom when she says she doesn't

>like to have her picture taken.  :)

My father has been dead for 32 years. I did a lot with my dad before he 
died. We hunted, fished, participated in rifle matches, etc. At age 12 I

started carrying a camera as well as the guns and fishing rods.

I took thousands of photographs of where, when, what, why, how, etc,
my dad and I did before he died. in 1971. And of course, I took
of everything I did with my friends in junior high, high school, and

In 1968 I got married and in 1971 we had our first child. Then three
over the next few years. During the child rearing days, my cameras were 
trained on the kids, basically using my camera (Leica CL followed by an
as a P&S.

Last year I decided to organize all of my photographic stuff. Boxes full
stuff. Old stuff. New stuff. Just stuff.

I gathered up fifty+ bottles of chemicals, old darkroom tools, etc, and 
stored it all in clear storage containers on shelves by my darkroom so
I can see what's in each container. Then I discovered a large cardboard
full of old photographs and negatives.

These were all of the photographs that I took starting at age 12. Even 
photographs that my dad took when I was a baby, toddler, etc. Hundreds
hundreds of photographs. All of my junior high, high school, and college

photographs. And the negatives. Lots of unprinted negatives as well. A 
treasure trove of my life and my dad's last thirty years. And all
intact and preserved.

My dad worked on the Alcan Highway in 1944. He worked on building the
out in front of the road crew. Felling trees to make log mess halls and 
barrack sleeping quarters. It was completely wild with minimal supplies
speak of. They met and got to know the Indians living out there. The 
Indians taught them how to survive in and work in -70F weather as well
hunting and fishing techniques. My dad took lots of photographs during
year working there. He had the foresight to take a couple dozen rolls of

film (127) with him. All of these photographs and negatives were in this

treasure trove. All perfectly preserved.
This was, and still is, an emotional experience to look through all of
old photographs. The memories it brings back are incredible. Memories
have no way of coming back without the stimulus of the photographs.

Now I ask you, what if digital photography was the family photography 
method back then. And exactly the same life scenario passed. And I found
box full of all of my, and my dad's, old "digital CD's". From the 40's, 
50's, and 60's The box being stored in a garage for decades. Up to 105F

(occasionally) in the summers and down to 30F in the winters.

Would I have this treasure trove of memories? Would I be able to print
of the thousands of unprinted CD images as I now can the unprinted 
negatives? Would there be any inkjet prints containing images of what's
the CD/DVD's, in the box?

The answer is clearly no. The prints would be blank paper and the
simply coasters.

So electronic photography has its drawbacks. All of the new families 
nowadays will not have the opportunity I just experienced. Unless they 
diligently copy their old media to new media every ten years. But my
was stuck in the corner of a garage for decades. Mentally lost. Far too 
long for any current digital media or ink jet prints to survive.

Someday, electronic photography will be permanent. Permanent without
to consciously make an effort to move it forward from decade to decade.
that time is not here yet.

Ted's lifetime of work will be preserved for future generations without 
doing anything special. No effort involved. It is just there. His
and their children will have a treasure trove of their grand,
etc, father's work and family. Through the generations. Safely on film.

Of course, nothing really lasts f-o-r-e-v-e-r. But some of the negatives

and prints I have are 70+ years old and still in what I would call
condition. So who knows...


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