Sunday, November 7, 2010


With today's great technology, you would think photos would last forever. Well, sort of. But, lets say at least a hundred years. The old black and white family photos I'm working with are amazing. But, my own photos over the years are questionable. Not my ability as a normal family photographer, but the questionable variation in the pictures I've had professionally developed.
For instance, my kids love this montage:

When they come home, they inevitably cruise over the pictures, or take friends over to see it. It hangs in a place with good light, but not in direct sunlight.

But, many of these pictures have begun to fade. Part of my decision to photo rescue was because some, very professionally developed photos, are already close to worthless. 
I attended a family reunion in 2004. I returned home with copies of pictures from relatives that were done at a local print shop. Wonderful, except in six short years they are already fading and one has turned purple. I'm disappointed and dismayed. They were archived in a box with my old historic photos. I expected them to last like the old black and whites. Instead, they are nearly gone. They are not pictures I check regularly and I shutter to think if I had trusted this technology, what I would have left.

 My sister came with her box of photos and likewise, the newest pictures are fading. The lesson here is be careful about what process you use to copy pictures. I'm still smarting from this experience and thankful I got to mine in time. So, if you are planning rescue, do it with your computer. Don't walk into a local photo shop and think you have quality. It may or may not be true. So you have old negatives? Don't count on them either. The chemicals for developing color photos has changed and most places cannot do a credible job on your photos from the 1970's and 80's and 90's. I'm sure in some expensive lab, that service is available. For the average person, the computer is the better form of rescue.
Its a time eating task to scan them and insert them into the computer, but well worth the effort. And don't forget to back up on disc, a storage drive and cyber space.

I've become much more aware of the power of pictures these last couple of years with Jim in my life and I discovered a woman who has 30,000 pictures, in a well managed and accessible website. I've used one of her photos (with her permission) in one of my blogs last year. She has an amazing array of subjects from all 50 states in the union. An incredible feat. She still has a full time job, besides, but works on her site every day. 
 Check it out.The digital age has enabled us to record what we see like never before.

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