[Love Dad's socks]
For the last two Wednesdays I have been writing about organizing your family photos. Today I close out this mini-series with a look at how to store all your scanned photos and digital images. The challenge is to keep your images safe for your own enjoyment and for future generations of your family.
Each media whether film, video or digital has its own challenges. I am reminded of photographer Jacques Lowe. Lowe had unprecedented access to President John F. Kennedy and his family. His photographers weren't just works of art but a record of U.S. history. Lowe's archive was irreplaceable which made it uninsurable. Lowe stored his precious photographs in the safest place he knew...in JP Morgan's vault in building 5 of the World Trade Center in New York City. After the 9/11 attack the vault was retrieved in tact but inside the vault, Lowe's film archive was in ashes.
In the digital age your concern for the safety of your images moves beyond Acts of God and man. If not stored properly, the images degrade and can be lost forever. That is why I don't rely on CD's as backup for my digital images. I had some family video transferred to CD several years ago and learned that the best CDs are only guaranteed for 100 years. While a hundred years sounds like a long time and it is, I have black and white photographs of family over 100 years old and there is no loss of image. Unless the technology changes, CDs aren't the best media to house valuable images.
So how do you protect your images? First, back up your photographs to multiple media. You can keep them on your computer; use a flash memory drive, external hard drive or on-line storage service. I back up my photographs to a LaCie external drive. There are many different brands of external drives and pricing is based on storage size. I like the LaCie rugged because it is a good travel size and has a cushy outer layer that can take a hit now and then. My cloud service is Dropbox. I started with these guys though my company and have stuck with them for my personal stuff. Again there are multiple cloud storage services to help with photo storage. Choose one that works for you and start uploading.
Next make sure you have a copy somewhere besides at home. Give a copy to your sister, put it in your safe deposit box or keep it any other safe place off-site. (This is really a good thing to do for the back up to your whole computer system.) If you are using a cloud services, this can be considered your off-site location for your photographs. It's all about redundancy!
I hope these three posts inspire you to organize and protect your photographs. Let me know if you have any hints on how to make this DIY project easier.
Nugget: Why the Library of Congress believes preservation of your photographs and communications is important.