Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ryan Pyle Blog: Caring for your Image Collection


I'm not ashamed to say it, I'm a film man. Now as a film man one has certain problems, like how to shoot film and turn it around fast enough to satisfy editors used to working with digital photographers; and I can manage that. My newest problem these days, as my career lengthens, is film storage.

I shoot about 10-15 rolls of 35mm each day I work. So on a 5 days assignment I could end up with 75 rolls of film on my hands. Processing, making an edit and having them scanned are crucial to the process, but bagging them and tagging them afterwards is equally important. Why?

I take great comfort in knowing that my photographic archive is physically sitting in my spare bedroom, which I've turned in to a dark room, and not on some fidgity hard drive that may or may not fail some day. Often enough I need to track down a negative and rescan it or bring a series of images to my printer. In other words I am constantly going back to the negative, so keeping them safe and well organized is in my best interest. But how is this done?

There are lots of rumors and misinformation out there. I've found that humidity and direct light are two of the main threats that need to be removed, a difficult task for anyone living in sweaty/sticky Asia. Low temperature storage is best, removal of all potential sunlight is important to achieve that. I could go on and on but instead I'll just pass along the link with all details, which can be found on this site: "Caring For Your Collection", which is published by the National Library of Congress.

Best of luck to everyone in keeping their collections dry, cold and safe for decades to come.


Ryan Pyle

1 comment:

  1. I have the same issues here in South Africa, the humidity is a killer.

    What I've found to be a good solution is a set of those cool tupperware boxes, with the 4 locks on either sides and some silicon gel packs.

    All negatives are packed in those, marked at the top for month/etc, and then sealed in a dark cupboard.

    not the best, but it seems to beat the issues with humidity and dust



This is Ryan Pyle. I appreciate you adding a comment to my blog and I hope that this space has offered you something useful and interesting. I look forward to staying in touch and I'm glad you took the time to comment.

Ryan Pyle