18
Nov
08

Nearly half of Americans’ photos will disappear

Here’s another horror story about our photographic history being lost forever, this time from an independent study, and this time talking about non-digital photos. While a lot of the info is factual (color prints fade, color negatives fade, and average folk do little to take care of them), once again here’s a few facts to note:

“Americans have taken nearly 550 billion non-digital photos in their lifetimes…” Well, if only half of those images survive, that’s still 225 billion photographs to document pretty much the 20th century. That’s a lot of pictures by anybody’s standards.

“Photo albums rank among the top few items people would grab if their house were burning down…” The article doesn’t mention the fact that the majority of those albums add to the decay of the images. Those “magnetic photo albums” are about the worst thing you can put your photographs in.

“…one of the biggest threats is simply misplacement — 37 percent of respondents admitted to losing important old photos..” In my experience this is the most likely way photos are lost. Not simply by being misplaced, but also by being loaned to or lifted by a relative, or being hacked up for a school project. When filuing, the biggest danger is in misfiling. If you put it in the wrong spot, you may never find it again.

I still call it editing. If you care about your photos, you’ll make some effort. If you don’t, I guess America will do without that little bit of history.

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