The thing I want to stress here is that these are physical objects, not files on a hard drive or CD. I am able to hold the sheet up to the light and immediately know what I am looking at. It would be easy to have 5000 images on a drive somewhere and never look at them again, or at least forget about. Not so with binders full of negatives, or boxes of photographs.
As I was decluttering and moving things around, and tossing some stuff into the garbage, and putting other items into a box for recycling/donations, I thought about the binder after binder with 35 mm slides that were on the shelves. At one point, I took one binder off the shelf and most of the slide pages fell out, forcing me to look them over for a bit. Another binder had slides that I used in a presentation in the early 1980s. Since all of them were reproductions of line art from publications (remember the blue "diazo" slides?), they went into the trash. I went back to the pile of pages that had fallen out from the first binder, and set them aside for working on later. I'll need to re-examine them closely, and determine the ones are worth saving. Most of them are from the early 1980s, and are documenting the Botanical Gardens collections. A few are probably worth scanning and putting online. A bunch will be tossed because frankly, my photographs were not that good. Transparency film does not tolerate bad exposures. As I have gone over some of my old files of transparencies, I have also realized that it's only in the past 10 years that I would say that I have become a pretty decent photographer. Not about technique (improved, certainly) so much as it is about subject and motivation. I know I see better now, and I don't mean my eyesight. That translates to more images that have something to say.
|old slides in vinyl sleeves, not archival|
Back to my cleaning up. Keeping images secure and findable is important. It is a problem when you have piles of negatives and haven't properly stored them. If you are spending the time and money to photograph, take the time to at least store your negatives or slides in the Print-File archival pages, label them with at least the date and place they were taken. Adding the camera/lens/developer info is nice but not necessary.
I can go to the shelf and pull out a binder of negatives back to 2000, when I started doing b&w seriously and developing my own film. I cringe a bit at some of those sheets, but I am glad that I have them, as they document my growth as a photographer. Yes, I still have negatives that go back to 1973, and the subjects I chose are not so different from what I shoot now, but 40+ years later, I think I better understand the why I shoot what I do.
|Canon EOS Rebel 2000 - look at the time!|