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Sunday, 13 April 2008

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Good friends are hard to find. Evidently, Tee got lucky.

So how did you deal with an image like 6147 that seems so obviously out of place with the others around it?

Not sure whether Tee's workflow would have hampered this, but often the original filename (from camera) remains in the image's metadata. Perhaps some scripting with Exiftool might group together images that had the same origin.

Hi Ctein:

As i am right now, as we speak, cleaning out my own digital closets following a very rare Mac crash (read warning) the other night *sigh*..i read your entire post, start to finish, to pick up how-to hints. Most of this was pretty dry stuff though you made me chuckle a time or two. Then i got to the end. The chilling end. The final photos, self portraits, and her death a month later. I wasn't prepared for this. I thought it was just a task you undertook and completed. Job well done and all that. But it became more than that to you. An existential journey through this artist's personal creative moments, all frozen as is on her hard drive the day she departed this world. Like the dirty dishes in the sink, the car keys in their basket on the counter next to the eyeglasses, the dog's leash hanging on the hook by the door, this morning's newspaper still spread open on the dining room table, pillow still dented from the head that laid on it the night before. For all photographers whose digital files encompass the heart and soul of their creative energies, this was a chilling post to read. My hard drive will probably find itself parked by the curb waiting for the garbage pick-up the day after i'm gone. Tee was certainly fortunate that her work lived on after she passed away and that her digital files were in hands as trustworthy as yours.

I have a question for Ctein following on from this effort: is there advice you'd give the rest of us on annotating our filing systems?

Assuming we'd wish others to keep our work after we're gone, is there some way to let others know what's there that would be helpful to them?

dyathink's comments make me wonder how many large archives are disappearing because those coming after us don't understand them.

Dear Kenneth,

I didn't have to! My job wasn't to evaluate the quality of the images but merely to preserve them in a form that made it easiest for future scholars to work with them. I just left that file where it was, just as I did with frame number 6138. I'm pretty sure that one was just an accidental firing of the shutter, but wasn't my place to decide that, and storage is cheap.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ please excuse any word salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital restorations http://photo-repair.com
======================================

Dear Andrew,

That would be a really good idea if I'm saddled with a task like this in the future. I've only had this new machine for half a year, though, so I'm really not up to speed on scripting under MacOS X. I'm not saying it's that hard to learn, but if one hasn't any spare time to learn it, well... … anyway, it's good advice and it's on the (rather too long) to-do list.

pax / Ctein
==========================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
==========================================

Dear Dya,

Thank you! I was hoping to invoke in the reader the same emotional reaction I had when I got to that last folder. At that point I was so immersed in the process that momentarily I couldn't figure out why I wasn't able to view the next month's iPhoto folder. The realization of the why was a mild but brutal shock.

Historical biographers have talked of something like this. After they spend so much time reading over a subject's papers and letters and interviews and documents, they become a kind of passenger traveling in the subject's life. They feel connected to it in a way that is more than only factual, it starts to have an essence of reality that is more than vicarious.

And I am so sorry to hear about your disk crash! The only time that ever happened to me I was fortunate enough to have backups that were 12 hours old and it was still upsetting and aggravating.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ please excuse any word salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital restorations http://photo-repair.com
======================================

Dear Martin,

I am afraid I have no useful advice to give because I have done no annotations whatsoever. All my work is carefully filed (and everything proof-sheeted) in chronological order and labeled by date, but there are no annotations to indicate the import of any of it. I do preserve all my correspondence, though, and I have sufficiently frequent correspondence that that would allow anyone who cared to figure out what 99+% of the photos were about.

Tee was an enthusiastic correspondent, too, and I'm guessing that if someone were to read through all her documents they could make similar correlations.

It would probably make a huge amount of sense for me to start adding annotations to my work. I'm almost 100% certain that I will not ever bother to do it, though.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ please excuse any word salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital restorations http://photo-repair.com
======================================

Ctein, I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on digital archive maintenance? you don't seem to mention much about what happens _after_ all this enormous amount of work is done. the trick with digital archives seems to be periodic verification of data integrity and copying through to whatever the next common storage media is.

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