My blog

Building an image archive (part 2)

What to do with all the photographs and negatives from our past plus those we inherit.
In part one I discussed the storing of digital files and how to protect against loss due to equipment failure. In part 2 I hope to share some thoughts on storing of actual prints and slides. It would be easy to describe these as "hard copy" as opposed to a digital file.
Analogue or film be it whatever format is by its nature bulky to store, how many of us have boxes of old slides, negatives or prints about the place poorly stored, getting damaged or worse still lost altogether?
So, what can we do? At the very least make sure it's a strong and waterproof box. Having suffered a burst pipe in our roof space I can tell you from experience a cardboard box won't offer much hope. The clear plastic boxes with sealable lids are a good option, not cheap but how valuable to you are those images?
Assuming you have time and patience you could digitise your collection, using a decent flat bed scanner is best but a combination printer, scanner, copier will suffice. It is possible to scan negatives quite successfully also but scanning is a VERY time consuming job! To state the obvious for a moment if you wish to upload images to social media or a website scanning is your only option.
If you want to archive your hard copies (this can include any prints from digital files as well) then a company called Arrow File is a good place to here... They are literally a one stop shop and I use them quite often. You may think why not use a simple Polly pocket but be aware that for archive purposes these are NOT acid free and will deteriorate your image over time. I am not connected with this company in any way, but I am more than happy to endorse them. Pictures are much better in folders, easier for people to see and appreciate plus when the folder is closed the photograph is protected from harmful sunlight. ALWAYS keep the negatives with the pictures if at all possible. Never bin them or separate them from the print in case you need them one day. My best advice is put the negatives in holders at the back of the folder.
Slides can be stored very easily in an A4 format, an advantage with this is by putting slides into clear A4 sheets of pockets they can be easily searched by putting the whole sheet on a light box. The other great thing with slides is there are no negatives to worry about.
I hope this helps anyone out there who is starting out on an archiving journey, it is a journey I am part way through but by no means nearing the end!

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