Digital Photo Archives :: A Blessing or a Pain?

During an afternoon conversation with a photography professor and longtime friend we drifted into how sad it would be if we lost all of our film archives. Each of us has a considerable “stash” encompassing 50+ years of negatives and transparencies shot in everything from 110 to 8″ x10″ sheet film. All of it is neatly catalogued and stored. All-in-all either of us can put our hands on just about any piece of film or print within minutes.

Sadly, this has not been the case for digital images going back as far as the early 80s. They’re strewn all over multiple hard drives, some in organized folders with others awaiting their day to get a proper filing. Some were catalogued using a software or package or two that no longer exist having that all that tedious work be tackled again and again. And, just to make sure you don’t lose anything you need at least two mirrored drives containing exact copies of files. For every drive you have there’s another one for safe keeping. If you really care about your work these must be stored in two separate locations in the event a horrible act occurs.

When it was all said and done we felt quite tired talking about all the work that went into organizing the digital stuff. We finally admitted that if there was a fire that destroyed our digital content we might not weep like we definitely would over the film and prints. How can you cry for something when you don’t even know where you stored it?