Wednesday Works: IS&T Archiving Conference and the Importance of Preservation by Joe LaBarca

Technical Blog - By Joe LaBarca – Pixel Preservation International

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IS&T, the Society for Imaging Science and Technology, is an international organization that for nearly 50 years has been dedicated to advancements in the field of imaging. Every year IS&T holds an Archiving Conference where scientists, curators, librarians, government officials and private businesses gather to discuss the most pressing issues related to the digital preservation and stewardship of hardcopy, audio, and video.

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This year’s Archiving Conference will be held May 13-16 at the Arsenal at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany (home of the Berlin Film Festival) a very appropriate venue for topics of preservation.  One key theme during the conference is the critical need for the protection and preservation of digital image files to professional labs, professional photographers, and consumers. It’s a hugely important and timely topic as there has never been as great a need to focus on preservation of digital photography.

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Last year’s conference was held at the US National Archives and featured several papers that were directly applicable to labs, photographers and consumers on the importance of preserving digital image files. Given the historical and emotional significance of photographic images, the high risk of losing digital files has made it critical to discuss these issues at many different levels.

When we hear the term “digital preservation”, our first thought is often of preserving analog originals (think scanning of film and prints) into digital formats. IS&T and companies like Kodak Alaris, are helping to put a major focus on “born digital” files, i.e., those files originated directly from a digital device.  Clearly, digitally captured photographic images fall into this category.

The idea of creating human readable objects from digital files is very appropriate.  For us that means making prints and photo books. Whether printing at professional labs, including those with on-line fulfillment websites, or even a trip to the store for printing on a kiosk, making prints is easier than ever.  And new Facebook and mobile apps from Kodak Alaris allows for easy print and photo book creation from images stored in social media.

A key point for the long-term preservation of images is to use high quality paper and print media. This includes Kodak Endura papers (look for “Kodak Endura” on the back of the print), Kodak consumer photographic papers and Kodak thermal prints from kiosks (look for “Kodak” on the back of these prints).  This also includes Kodak-recommended materials for photo books, including those using KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Premier Paper.

A full session of last year’s conference was devoted to film and its ability to create “future proof” storage of digital assets. The idea of “future proof” storage and preservation applies to any physical object having excellent long term keeping properties, and which operates or exists independently of the technology used to create it. This certainly applies to photographic prints as well as film.  A photographic paper like KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Premier Paper clearly fits the bill and will easily provide long term preservation of digital photographic images for over 200 years when properly stored.

Other interesting topics at the conference session included the continuing high growth rate of digital files and the use of the newer JPEG2000 standard for photographic encoding of digital files.  These are both applicable to our professional and consumer markets and customers.  Clearly the huge growth of digitally captured images comes via the growth of smartphones.  This means that there are ever-more image files for the consumer to manage, share between devices and preserve.  And the larger a digital photo collection gets, the harder this task becomes.  This is true for large institutions and individual consumers alike.  The continued use and support of JPEG2000 (“.jpf” and “.jp2”), as indicated by several papers presented at IS&T last year, implies that older photographic encoding formats like JPEG (“.jpg”) continue on a slow trajectory towards obsolescence.  At some point these vast collections of JPEG image files will need to migrate to a new encoding format or risk being lost forever.  There is no better way to prevent this than by taking those most precious images and making prints.

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For more information about the 2014 Archiving Conference including the preliminary program, and to see abstracts of papers from past conferences, go to: http://www.imaging.org/ist/Conferences/archiving/

 

Spring Break Memories

Did you get away this year for Spring Break? If so, let me start by saying, lucky you! We decided to wait until summertime for a big trip (what were we thinking?!). And the calendar may say Spring, but here in Rochester, NY a glance outside confirms we’re still in winter’s icy grips.

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Winter storm “Vulcan” just last week (when did the meteorologists start naming winter storms, anyway?!)

Fortunately, we were able to take a great beach vacation last summer and I’ve surrounded myself, in the office and at home, with pictures and projects from that trip to keep the memories alive.

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Check out the Sand Box, Glass Photo Block and a variation on the Photo Poster on our Tips & Project Center.

If you, too, are looking for ways to make your vacation last, here are some ideas to get you started.

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Vacation Photo Book: Alongside the photos from your trip, include other memorabilia. Simply scan some of the mementos at the KODAK Picture Kiosk and include with photos from your vacation to create a unique vacation Photo Book. Use ticket stubs, restaurant menus, drink coasters and more!

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For the Foodie:  Sampling the local cuisine can be a highlight of a great vacation. Remember your favorite meals when you create a collage to hang in your kitchen at home.

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Seashell Photo Holder: Don’t let all those seashells you collected during your beach vacation sit forgotten in storage—use them to display your favorite trip pictures.

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Map It: A map of your getaway spot makes an excellent background to showcase your vacation photos.

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Photo Jars: Collect seasonal items, along with a favorite vacation photo, and place them in a pretty glass container for a nice memento.

This is just a start.  Check out theseand other great vacation projects on our Tips & Projects Center.

Why I love film

Today’s blog post comes from Bellamy Hunt, AKA Japan Camera Hunter. Be sure to check out the end of the post for a Film Friday giveaway!

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Why do you love film? This is a question I get asked a lot. Maybe it is because of what I do, but people always seem to want to hear a different answer. But in reality, there is no special answer other than the one that I always have felt. Let me try and explain it to you.

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I can vividly remember my first forays into photography, when I was a very small boy and I had a Kodak Instamatic camera which my mother gave me. I didn’t really have the first idea of what I was doing, but I enjoyed doing it, taking pictures.

As I got older my enjoyment of photography grew. I studied the process at college, I worked professionally in a studio using film, I did events and tons of personal projects using film. Which is what we all did, as there was no other way.

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When digital came on to the scene I thought it was a godsend. I could spend more time taking pictures, and I could edit the ones I didn’t like. But all was not good in happy valley. Whilst I enjoyed the convenience and the speed of using a digital camera, I found the images lacking something…they were too clinical. I also found myself becoming lazy, slipping. I would spray and pray, and continuously chimp to check images. This was not what I had trained to do, I should have been trusting my skills.

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So, I made the decision to switch back to film. It wasn’t a hard decision. I was working for a camera supply company so I was no longer in need of pro digital cameras, as I could rent them if needed. I sold my digital cameras for a pittance compared to what I had paid for them less than 2 years previously. And for that pittance I was able to buy myself a film camera that I had dreamed of owning as a teenager.

For me, film gives me the opportunity to present the world as I see it, with all of the flaws and the mistakes. The world is not a perfect place and I don’t take perfect pictures. I don’t want my images to be razor sharp every single time. With digital I strived for consistency, with film I revel in the inconsistency. Film has also pushed me back into being creative again. I am more thoughtful and aware of how and why I shoot. I mentally prepare projects and compositions in my head, as I don’t want to waste film or opportunities.

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Added to that I am a borderline luddite, with a dash of chemistry geek and a full dose of tactile process nerd. So film photography for me is the logical conclusion of my personality. I love the idea of allowing just the right amount of light to react with chemicals on a strip of plastic to create an image that is indelible. A single frame, frozen in time that will probably be around long after I am gone. Tell that to my hard drives (two of which I have lost in the last two years alone), I still have the negatives from that Kodak Instamatic.

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I mentioned in previous articles too that shooting with film gives me time. Everything in the modern world is so frenetic, it seems to come at you from all directions, a bombardment of information. Running JCH takes up a huge amount of my time (not that I am complaining, I love it). But when I go out and shoot I can disconnect myself from everything for the briefest period and take the time to calm down and enjoy the little things. Watching people, human comedy and the barely contained chaos that is a big city. I have no rush to see my images, no sense of urgency for a result. I don’t need to feel validation by running home and uploading 150 images to Flickr or whatever. This gives me a sense of balance. Getting my negatives back and checking them is something I can do on a quiet evening with a nice cup of tea on standby.

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But it is not just that. It is the look. Sure you can get filters and plugins now so that you can make your digital images look like a certain emulsion, but it is just not the same as the real thing. Because the real thing comes out that way, without having to change anything. And this is not about the megapixels or resolution or whatever. This is about the imperfect nature that is film. The slight uncertainty and the unique minute imperfections that make it such a pleasure to use.

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So why do I love film? Because film is like love itself. It is imperfect, irrational, sometimes frustrating and almost impossible to rationalize, but when it works it feels fantastic and keeps me coming back for more.

My favourite Kodak film? There is a constant, which has been a film I have come back to over and over again, that one is Tri-X. It is so perfectly balanced and easy to use, you just cannot fail with a roll of tri-x. I hope it lives forever.

JCH

http://www.japancamerahunter.com

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Film Friday Giveaway!

To make Film Friday even more fun, JCH has generously offered a selection of his film cases for a giveaway. These cases were designed by JCH after months of development and testing. They are made from a durable and tough plastic that will keep your film safe from the elements including light.

There will be two prize packages… each with

- One black and one white 135 film case

- One black and one white 120 film case

- A selection of Kodak film

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post explaining why you shoot film. We will randomly choose two winners by 2pm EST on Monday, March 17. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments form so we can contact you if you win. It won’t be seen by others. Good luck!

Brighten up your home (and mood) with photos!

This time of year you might start to feel some twinges of spring fever. You might feel like doing some spring cleaning or changing up your home decor. Decorating with photos is an easy and beautiful way to refesh your home.

Turns out, some experts say that looking at photos can have a positive effect.

Woman’s Day recommends that you put photos on the fridge to improve your mood in five minutes. They point out that we look at our refigerator 27 times a day, so it’s a good opportunity to look at something that makes you happy. “Research shows that the happiest people have many joyful family photos displayed in their homes,” says Caroline Adams Miller, coauthor of Creating Your Best Life.

This Yahoo article “How to Cheer Up: 5 Proven Mood-Enhancing Things to Do Right Now” also recommends photos as a way to feel better. UK’s The Open University showed in a study that looking at your personal photos is a better mood enhancer than other traditional activities like eating chocolate, drinking wine or listening to music. They suggest keeping photos in plain sight and occasionally switching them up is a great way to improve your mood.

Considering that looking at photos can make you feel better, displaying more photos around your home seems like a good idea. There are lots of creative ways to use photos in our home decor projects featured in the Kodak Tips and Projects Center.

Here are just a few.

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Photo window frame – Have you ever seen an old window frame sitting out by the curb? Grab it next time and make this cool photo window.

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Family tree mural with photos – show off your family with this life size family tree.

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Glowing photo frame – Warm up your home with this easy to make backlight frame.

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Photo wreath – striking compliment to your mantlescape!

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Photo dishware – perfect for your old family photos. Make copies at a Kodak Picture Kiosk so you don’t ruin the originals.

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Oh and for your fridge? Check out these photo magnets made from upcycled bottle caps!

The DIY steps for all these photo projects are available in the home decor section of the Kodak Tips and Projects Center.

Find a Kodak Picture Kiosk near you to print all your photos for these ideas.