Where in the heck are my photographs?

Chuck Pike

Mu-43 Veteran
Apr 3, 2010
Charlotte, NC.
Back in the late 70’s I started work for a weekly newspaper, and watched as my processed negatives began to pile up. I knew that I had to have some system to file them, and I found a site that sold archival supplies. 50 rolls of film per box, cut into 6 frame strips, each roll in an archival envelope, and each strip in an archival sleeve. It worked well. While we often think about LR for its ability to process our work, it is every bit as important as a Digital Access Management or Dam system.

Back in the 70’s I shot everything that was of interest to me and then filed those negatives away. Last week I was photographing uptown, and someone asked if I were a tourist? I said no, and then explained that I often sell work to magazines. He asked me how far back my stock went. I thought a minute and said I wasn’t really sure, but it went back at least 30 years. He then handed me a card that was from a museum and said that he needed pictures of our town as it was being built into a city. Well, I have been going through those boxes searching. No I do not have a contact sheet for every roll so I have to go through box by box, searching. It is like going back into a time machine seeing what once was and remembering how much fun it was taking these photographs. I have found several shot that I can submit but this is a time consuming process. If I had something like LR then, this would be easy. So, for those who only think of LR as a film processor, it is much more than that. Or, you may already have your own DAM system.

By the way, I am now going through approx 18,000 negatives, and those are just the ones that I have in those boxes. I have others that date back another 10 years, but they are in no order what so ever. When I find a shot I am looking for, I need to scan the b&w negative. Another take away from this is that you never know what you take today that might be important 40 years from now. So start a filing system that is a real system and one that you can live with for years to come.


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