Longtime TOP reader and not-infrequent commenter Stan Banos has closed down his blog Reciprocity Failure—after discovering a catastrophe with his archive. The long and short of it is that Stan invested in a fireproof safe to protect his lifetime's worth of negatives, only to discover that the safe had trapped moisture inside which encouraged the growth of an unidentified mold or fungus that has attacked the negatives.
Stan is deeply anguished about the possible loss of, or damage to, decades of work.
On the good side, it looks like many negatives can be saved by being cleaned with Edwal film cleaner (isopropyl alcohol). But of course that is painstaking, time-consuming work.
Reciprocity Failure was both a photography blog and a place where Stan did his part to protest and push back against "life's seemingly endless supply of pernicious injustices." Stan acknowledges that, at age 60, maybe this is a good time to be redacting his photographic work...that task which most of us are always putting off till some unspecified future.
You can read the Farewell post at the site. Best of luck to Stan. (And don't be a stranger, man.)
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Richard Man: "Whoa, my 4TB drive just died after 14 months. I have full back up on the Drobo so it's not a huge problem and it's the drive that holds the scanned images so at worst, I can always rescan, but this story...ekkk...."
Stephen S.: "When I was researching a fire safe to protect documents, I found many online reviews of people complaining it destroyed their documents due to humidity and giving it low review scores. One lone review commented that the fire safe was designed to be humid, and is actually filled with a layer of liquid/gel in-between the layers of plastic, in order to provide longer insulation against rising temperatures.
"This reviewer stated that all you needed to do was put your documents in Ziploc bags. I ordered the fire safe, and when it arrived, I opened it to discover a large, bright red warning sheet, explaining the humidity and the need to store paper in airtight bags. I can only surmise that dozens of people who complained online didn't take the time to read the warning before discarding it."
Robert Hudyma: "Dark places, warmth and humidity provide a friendly environment for fungus. My heart goes out to Stan for his loss.
"But, how do you recover from this loss? Give up? Do something else? Or go forward? Each of us will respond individually, but, like it not, we cannot turn back the clock, and second guess ourselves with what-if questions. It takes time to heal from these wounds and sadly some of us never recover. In times like this it is important to grieve since that will enable to process to begin healing. I wish the best for Stan, and I hope that he will continue to contribute to the world of image making since I believe that is an essential part of his being."
Stan B. replies to everyone: Wow! They say any publicity is good publicity- but this is some I wish I could have well avoided. Hopefully, it may serve as some kind of warning to others, digital or analog. To those who'll say I should've used desiccant, I did at first, but then read that silica gel isn't meant for long time storage, and when it shriveled up my passport (that I also stored inside)—it scared the bejeezus outta me, so I took both out. And the rubber seals meant to keep water out- kept moisture in....
Irony is, I would've been fine had I just kept them in the proverbial shoebox. As always, Thank You, for the support and words of encouragement. Cleaning the negs was the easy part. If anyone out there can point me towards any info, tutorials, etc. on any restoration techniques (beyond simple cloning and healing brush—I've seen something about using the 'art history brush') that may be of consequence, and/or how to get full fledged PS at the best rate—please, let me know. And thank you in advance....