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Author Topic: future  (Read 6801 times)
petermarrek
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« on: May 09, 2013, 08:26:54 AM »
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just curious, as an aging photographer I have a question. most of us are not planning to or thinking of dying but we all will. What are your plans for  the thousands of images we have stored on harddrives and other various media. Will it all just disappear? Most of us have invested thousands of Dollars and a lot of us are trying to sell photos that we own, yet how many of us have a real plan in place. Peter
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framah
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 08:35:44 AM »
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Here's my personal thoughts on this..

First, unless you ( or anyone else) are a famous, in demand, high value photographer, then it pretty much doesn't matter what happens to them after we are dead. No one will care enough to bother with them so, into the trash they go.

If you ARE among that special family of famous shooters, then your  estate will keep selling your stuff for decades.

Either way, I'll be dead and gone so I couldn't care less what happens. I care more that my cats go to a good home and they get to keep their mousey toys!!

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Gary Brown
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 11:30:22 AM »
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Here's a Ctein essay more or less on that topic: We're All Gonna Die!

And a couple of earlier threads on this forum:

If you don't print, then what do you leave behind?

End of life
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bill t.
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2013, 11:58:14 AM »
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I plan to engrave my best images on solid gold DVD's and launch them towards new Earth-like planets as they are discovered.  Otherwise, the small fraction of my framed pieces that survive can be had for a bargain at local thrift stores up through about 2050.  But I'm not counting on flash drives, optical discs, magnetic discs or any other kind of storage media to be readable past another 10 years.  If anybody wants to buy a nice collection of 8" and 5.25" floppies, send a PM.

Or maybe I'll seal a USB drive inside a nitrogen filled, Titanium casket and get these guys to stash it.  Or maybe just bury several of those caskets under empty lots that are good candidates for future museums.

A few years ago I bought some used CF cards on ebay.  One of them had some rather heart-warming pictures of kids on a picnic.  I contacted the seller and they said, "Oh, that's from our uncle's estate.  Just erase it."  That seemed just too callous, it's still out in the garage somewhere.  I'll leave the dirty work to the next generation.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2013, 02:47:31 PM »
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"First, unless you ( or anyone else) are a famous, in demand, high value photographer, then it pretty much doesn't matter what happens to them after we are dead. No one will care enough to bother with them so, into the trash they go."

If that had happened, no one would know who Vivian
Meier, Mike Disfarmer, Eugene Atget, or Diane Arbus were.
Secondly even photographs that do not have great aesthetic or monetary value are worth a great deal to historians. They tell stories about the ways people lived, how people dressed, how they lived, what they valued.
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Ellis Vener
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2013, 04:30:21 PM »
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The snag, Ellis, is that millions of similar images are already out there gathering dust. Unless my dust is better than your dust, then who'd care about my dust? Too much dust around, and it just gets hoovered away or swept under the world's carpets...

I suspect that our 'masterpieces' have very little value at all. Those people in galleries or 'halls of fame' were already somewhat known during their time alive. It's not true that Arbus only came to prominence post death; I distinctly remember her being well-published prior to that event, her master-stroke of self-publicity.

The value - if any - of photography to the individual (not pro work) is just that: to the individual. Mostly nobody else gives a damn, and sincerely hopes we don't drop it on them when they come calling. I used to have an uncle with a lovely Leica 111G, and all he did was shoot friggin' castles. And project them. I wish I had his Leica today; not sure what I'd shoot, though - problems enough finding subject matter for the hungry animals as it is. Maybe that's a digital fault, though. It's all too cheap and not necessarily cheerful.

They say you don't know what you've got until you lose it; I guess you have to see a parallel there with film, too: it came with a built-in editor.

Rob C
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bill t.
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 04:36:37 PM »
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Secondly even photographs that do not have great aesthetic or monetary value are worth a great deal to historians. They tell stories about the ways people lived, how people dressed, how they lived, what they valued.

That's absolutely true!  What will interest the Future is the Flickr sections of Google's yearly internet snaps, and not the artistic magnum opuses we post here and elsewhere.  Ironic how so many of us strive to exclude the hand of man from our landscapes, the one thing that would most insure the ongoing relevance of our work.  And as examples of early twenty-first century fine art, I am pretty sure the Future will look to our video games.
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 04:56:43 PM »
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OP...you have touched upon the last 6 months of my life's work.

In Nov 2012 I learned that my wife and estranged DIL will trash all my photography when I die. In short they hate it and are not too fond of me either. I'm getting old and health is poor. So, before it all ended up in the nearest dumpster I figured I better get my ass in gear.

In the past 6 months I have contacted a few hundred potential depositories for my work. I'm scaling back for summer and in Fall will continue with the around the world search to archive some of my work.

I have been successful with getting work into 19 museums and rare book libraries in the US, China and UK. (The rare book libraries accept a donated $5800 hand printed, hand bound, limited edition book into their reference dept.)

I have failed 100% with getting a PDF or flip book version of the same $5800 book into any library nationwide as a free donation with unlimited rights to reproduce it.

I have failed 100% getting any publisher interested in making the PDF into a ebook with me giving it to them royalty free.

I will give the PDF to Google books in 6 months or so if nothing happens. I'm not interested in fooling with ebooks, so that is why I am pushing it to someone else to do.

I am working on a POD book, but POD printing is not that great for the BW portion of my book. A short run, high quality offset printer charges $10,000 to do 100 softcover books. $100 per softcover 166 page book? Not unless your rich and want to give them away.

Here is a paragraph from my chapter on 'Preservation' from my book. The chapter opens with the importance of making prints in our age of 'no prints needed' digital viewing. If your digital masters are ever lost you can recover 90% to 95% of the image IQ from a scan of the master print.

But this part really touches on your question...

There is another benefit of making prints that may serve you well with the survival of your most important images. Digital images are just very easy to overlook, lose, or be trashed. Bottom line…if you have a beautiful print of your work, succeeding generations are more likely to keep it. Digital media is just too easy to overlook and discard.

I offered any 'museum quality members' of our group a chance to join my mailings to the museums. I offered to send your prints along with mine for donation to the top as well as the lesser museums around the world. Would have cost you nothing. You would only supply sleeved prints. I didn't get one taker.

But after having 6 months experience I can tell you it is an extremely speculative undertaking. It is only worthwhile if your dedicated to this goal and you print yourself or are rich and don't care.

By next year this time I hope to be in 25 museums (As well as the 13 the rare book libraries special collections I'm already in.)...but I stress HOPE!  Whenever you deal with a 'Board' or acquisition committee it is very fickle. With rare book libraries I have been successful with 20-25% of them.

After this plan if pretty complete, I have other plans to archive my work. But that is a year or two down the road.

The sad part of our work is this...the world is just polluted with photographs. 2 billion every week to Facebook alone. So the explosion with photographs has not made it easy for us to deal with this topic.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 05:27:34 PM by iluvmycam » Logged
werner from aurora
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 05:06:01 PM »
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    Peter, I think this is just not only a digital age question. I have boxes of pictures in the closet with the negs just sitting there. Some day either my daughter or grandchild will look through them. Will they save every single one and add more STUFF to their basement? They will probably keep the most interesting-forget about looking for the neg to go with it, and chuck the rest.  OH THE TRAGEDY!!!  That is why  I make 8x10 and 11x14 prints of my favorite shots. ( I am pretty fussy so this is not a huge collection). They sit in portfolio albums so they do not take up much space, and I figure the print size is large enough someone can scan it and reproduce it if they so choose.-O.K. wishful thinking here. If you think a shot is worth keeping for posterity-PRINT IT. Lately I have also been producing some of the picture books that are now widely available. They also do not take up a lot of space and are another way of preserving some of your best or most interesting pictures. I am starting to get into a rhythm where if I feel I have 50 or so shots worth preserving I put a book together. For me, this could be every 2 years-or every 6 years. It all depends,,,,,
   
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 05:11:10 PM »
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    Peter, I think this is just not only a digital age question. I have boxes of pictures in the closet with the negs just sitting there. Some day either my daughter or grandchild will look through them. Will they save every single one and add more STUFF to their basement? They will probably keep the most interesting-forget about looking for the neg to go with it, and chuck the rest.  OH THE TRAGEDY!!!  That is why  I make 8x10 and 11x14 prints of my favorite shots. ( I am pretty fussy so this is not a huge collection). They sit in portfolio albums so they do not take up much space, and I figure the print size is large enough someone can scan it and reproduce it if they so choose.-O.K. wishful thinking here. If you think a shot is worth keeping for posterity-PRINT IT. Lately I have also been producing some of the picture books that are now widely available. They also do not take up a lot of space and are another way of preserving some of your best or most interesting pictures. I am starting to get into a rhythm where if I feel I have 50 or so shots worth preserving I put a book together. For me, this could be every 2 years-or every 6 years. It all depends,,,,,
   

Don't forget to put your name and date on the back of the prints and any special notes. Same with your digital images. People download them for free, we all know this.

Rebrand the image as

'Image Title' Copyright 2013 Jon Smith

Sure it can be wiped out and changed. But without it there is no chance for orphan digital images.

Make smaller prints too. (Letter and 11 x 14) Giant murals are tough to keep and can get messed up without care. Letter size are optimum for scanning.
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werner from aurora
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 05:34:26 PM »
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Good point about info on the back of the prints. Something I have not been doing.
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2013, 06:25:21 PM »
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Good point about info on the back of the prints. Something I have not been doing.

I prefer rag paper. The back readily accepts ink jet printing. Few RC papers work for back printing with ink jet - it is very iffy and they must be tested. I don't like labels, but they can be used as well. If you use RC, paper, you can stamp the backs with a 'Crown' ink that will dry. Regular stamp ink wont dry. I use Crown sometimes for work prints or give aways on RC, but no claims as to archival qualities. Sakura pens usually wont work on back of RC but work on front.

If some of you are grads from big schools with an art gallery, talk with them about your work. They may take your some as a donation. Or they may require a donation of $ with your prints for conservation if they are not that excited about your work.

Here is a list..

http://dir.yahoo.com/arts/museums__galleries__and_centers/colleges_and_universities/

I never donate $, I am not rich, I only offer donated prints or hand printed books. But I am tapering off with the limited edition books. They are a pain to print. I will have done 18 of them shortly...that's 2880 pages. And the rear cover requires 4 passes through the printer.

For getting into museums a 'name' helps in conjunction with the 'right body of work.' I have a body of work (just) but have no name. I was never into self promotion until Nov of 2012. I didn't care about it, just loved shooting. You develop a name by starting small and building on it. Or if lucky, you start big and only get bigger.

If I did what I'm doing now back 40 years ago I'd have been somebody with a name. Other side of the coin is this...I have shot next to nothing in the last 6 months. Preservation is like a full time job, no time for anything else.

How you approach the museum is of the utmost importance. You know the saying about first impressions. Took me many months to refine my approach. I never talk tax deduction either. Make it as simple as pie for them to accept - don't complicate matters.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 07:32:00 PM by iluvmycam » Logged
Ellis Vener
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2013, 08:28:56 PM »
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The snag, Ellis, is that millions of similar images are already out there gathering dust. Unless my dust is better than your dust, then who'd care about my dust?
Rob C
It's not a matter of better, it's a matter of different Your dust is different than my dust.
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Ellis Vener
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jnmoore
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 12:44:36 AM »
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This is a very interesting question. Even if we are not famous most of us shooting seriously for years will have things that people may appreciate seeing in the future.

Some sort of foundation (maybe Google/Gates/Apple/Adobe would sponsor?) needs to established where we could will our digital collection to, within a determined usage framework? Can you imagine how big this collection might become after awhile? The world's biggest photo mine ...Your photos would live on (but maybe never looked at depending on the indexing resources available???) and would not be something your family has to worry about. Sitting behind my iMac right now is a Drobo with 8T capacity about half full of my work over many years. When I go I'm sure my family (expect for getting family photos) will not want to spend monthes going through all of this.

John

 

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iluvmycam
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 07:04:57 AM »
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This is a very interesting question. Even if we are not famous most of us shooting seriously for years will have things that people may appreciate seeing in the future.

Some sort of foundation (maybe Google/Gates/Apple/Adobe would sponsor?) needs to established where we could will our digital collection to, within a determined usage framework? Can you imagine how big this collection might become after awhile? The world's biggest photo mine ...Your photos would live on (but maybe never looked at depending on the indexing resources available???) and would not be something your family has to worry about. Sitting behind my iMac right now is a Drobo with 8T capacity about half full of my work over many years. When I go I'm sure my family (expect for getting family photos) will not want to spend monthes going through all of this.

John


One problem is you photogs have too much garbage mixed in with the few keepers that are decent. This may or may not apply to you, I don't know. But you look at some Flickrs and they are 77 pages of crap with a handful of keepers mixed in. Start a portfolio of your best work. and if you have something of historical significance, make a portfolio for it.

I'm looking at a few half-ass shots myself this morning. I'm trying to decide if they are worth including on a low res disc to send to museums and rare book libraries when I ship them my prints next week. They are not what I send out to get accepted. After I am accepted, I send them a disc of my book and print images and it has some extra images on them. Allows them to use it in their editorial / education use without having to scan prints.

It also allows my images a chance at surviving someplace else. And the curator may see something he or she likes on the disc and ask for it. They all low res jpegs, maybe 200 to 400 kb each. they could make a decnt 5 x7 or maybe a 8 x 10. (just)  I would like to send out higher res, but am not comfortable blasting them out all over the world. When I get older, if I send out discks. I will send out medium res images on disc.

We all have to let go of our crap and focus on the better work. But if that was the case, Eggelston and Shore would be nowhere - would they? So we may never really know when garbage will be treasured. But we have to try and balance this topic so we don't overload and turn off anyone searching through our images. When I see 77 pages of Flickr...I look at a few pages in the beginning, middle and end. That is all I can take of 'snapshots.'

Do an image search for your name on Goggle. See what pops up. About 20 of my photos come up from a Google. Make you images iconic and make them attached to your name. that is another area we can work in,
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 07:07:55 AM by iluvmycam » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2013, 11:01:32 AM »
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Well, if I can't get any money for them now, I don't know what the motivation for me is when they are valuable after I am dead.
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2013, 11:04:37 AM »
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Well, if I can't get any money for them now, I don't know what the motivation for me is when they are valuable after I am dead.

We don't do it for $...we do it for love of freezing time.

I've never made a penny with my photos. Most likely never will. But I would like for some of it to be archived - instead of ending up in the dumpster.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2013, 12:05:44 PM »
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We don't do it for $...we do it for love of freezing time.

I wish I had a dollar for every time an editor or producer has used that for not wanting to pay for work. So, what do I do? Put my images in a archive so they can benefit from them? Most of those places have people actually getting paid for maintaining that. Wouldn't it be nice if artists and their work were actually valued.

Can't buy me love. And love can't pay the rent nor put food on the table. If no one values my work now, what changes when I am dead? Why would I want some corporation to simply get richer off what I did just because they can get it for free and then profit from it for as long as they exist. The guys that controls the Disfarmer and Meier work are doing well from it. But with companies like Google, they soon may just start stealing my work anyway.

Yes, photography is a passion, but why can't it be a livelihood too?
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2013, 12:33:48 PM »
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I wish I had a dollar for every time an editor or producer has used that for not wanting to pay for work. So, what do I do? Put my images in a archive so they can benefit from them? Most of those places have people actually getting paid for maintaining that. Wouldn't it be nice if artists and their work were actually valued.

Can't buy me love. And love can't pay the rent nor put food on the table. If no one values my work now, what changes when I am dead? Why would I want some corporation to simply get richer off what I did just because they can get it for free and then profit from it for as long as they exist. The guys that controls the Disfarmer and Meier work are doing well from it. But with companies like Google, they soon may just start stealing my work anyway.

Yes, photography is a passion, but why can't it be a livelihood too?

It can be a livelihood for the lucky few. As I've told you before, the world is polluted with photos. Great photos and crappy photos...POLUTTED! When there is an oversuppy the value of a thing goes down. So that is how it is with photos.

But it is more like like acting or art. Artists would do it and do do it for free. Same with photogs that love freezing time.

I'd like my photos to be worth millions. But to do that I have to go to a thrift store, buy some funny clothes, put on some funny make up, make a funny face, take a photo of myself and have a background photo shopped in. Now I have a  $4 million dolllar Cindy Sherman photo!

My concern is not making a few bucks from my pix, but with preserving them. You can have my share of the $ pot. OK!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 12:38:10 PM by iluvmycam » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2013, 12:37:18 PM »
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You do understand this is the Pro Business section of the forum.

If you want a hobby, great. And as you pointed out, the world is full of photographs. What is the point of keeping the output from one person?
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