Christmas project: the Great Digitization

As some know, I like to use the holiday breaks for projects that are too time-consuming for the rest of the year.

This year’ Christmas break will be dedicated to the Great Digitization: I will use my brand-new film scanner to digitize the Analog media library I have accumulated before I switched to Digital, in 1999.dsc_0562.jpg

In fact, I have been snapping using a film camera since I was 17 and, although I did not save everything, I did save what I photographed since I got married in 1982.

And when I say everything, I mean it. Every single frame has been preserved, the good, the bad and the ugly.

All of this material (whose technical quality is dubious to be generous, even though the documenting quality is without question) has been sitting, carefully stashed away in plastic boxes, while I grew increasingly worried about their future as photographic paper or negative film are hardly synonymous of eternity.

Moreover in my first years I was fanatically using 35mm slides for everything, so these first images  I haven’t seen for at least 25 years: in fact this was exactly the reason I switched to regular film, as at least I could print them to browse them over and since the switch (to the best of my knowledge), every single frame has been printed at least once.

I remember this was an obsession that I developed very early on, and which as a student made photography (already an expensive hobby for my meager finances in its own right) almost impossibly expensive to support.

In the 70s I used to print my photographs myself, but I could only afford equipment and consumables for B&W so that’s what I did, supposedly artistic looking black & white pictures. No doubt some of these will emerge from the archive and you will be able to judge yourself. Eventually, however, the printing part of the hobby grew weary on me, especially because I did not have a spare room I could use as a permanent dark room and setting up the kit every time was cumbersome to say the least.

So I started taking my pictures to be printed at a shop, where they offered a “test” print format that would print every frame on a single 7′ x 10′ sheet of paper for me to peruse with a lens to decide which ones deserved the expense of a full print. I doubt I have kept these test print, but I certainly saved (I hope) all of the negatives.

I do not know the exact number of images, not their distribution over time – these are all things I’ll find out during the Great Digitization – and I also have no idea of the time required to perform it; finally, I do not know how much storage I will need, but since the images from 1999 to date are only about 20GB, unless the files created by the scanner are enormous, I don’t think that will be a problem.

More as the work progresses…


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