The Archive Part 2

Make no mistake. Photography has changed. Our philosophy and attitudes toward it have not. Photography has always been something tangible. It was a physical process. It required you to use all of your senses during the photographic processes. You were left with a sleeve of negatives and a stack of photos to hang on to. Use the images now or revisit in the future. Except for fire or flood, you would always have the negative to go back to. You could keep them all in a shoebox or a file cabinet, all subjects marked with Sharpie. They could be highly organized in files or not so much. No matter what, you knew where they were when you needed them.

Shoe Boxes
(click on the image for notations)

Fast forward. Now images exist only in a non tangible format. A format that requires thousands of dollars of equipment to capture, process, display and archive. Keeping digital assets isn’t like it was in the old days. To maintain value in the investment of photography digital images cannot be kept in a ‘shoe box’. The digital images need to be handled and processed in a highly organized system. The system includes the rigorous use of metadata, multiple hard-drives and arrays, off site DVD back ups, cataloging software, and a degree in network technology.

My Drives
(click on the image for notations)

For the professionals, I am preaching to the choir. I am concerned about the new to digital and student photographers. Get into good habits archiving your images now. You will need to be ever vigilant about archiving if you want to maintain a profitable archive. Image loss is disastrous and an enormous drain on time already committed to projects as well as time in trying to fix what has broken or find what has been lost.

(click on the image for notations)

The Archive

Today, I took a big step forward in protecting my photographic assets. I am now the proud owner of a Systemax Intel Entry Storage system set up as a Raid 10. A RAID 10 provides 4 hard disk mirrored array that acts as a data protection system. If any one of the drives fails, it will in theory, email me about the problem, keep the data intact, and automatically recover data once a new harddrive is intalled. Geeky I know, but very important.

The out of the box set up was easy relatively speaking. The directions were clear enough, only one real delay concerning something called the ‘default gateway’. After a few hours break to mull it over and a couple of cookies the problems worked themselves out through trial and error.
I’ve spent years on this trial and mostly error process of working on the guts of the hardware and software of my computers. I attribute these tribulations, to the relative ease of the process. I also think that devices are being designed and implimented smarter. Time has worked out the logic pretty clearly.

This move will add, organize and clear space for me to expand my archives in a practical and scalable manner. I estimate that I can go another year before I will have to add another terabyte to the archive. It is becoming a big expensive business to keep these images archived. It is now the time for the archive to become self sustaining in relationship to its costs. I consider the RAID project to be an insurance policy designed use my inertia to over come the decay of atrophy. I want the images I’ve created to last. It is a dream of mine for my children to take over and manage the archive into something positive for their families and beyond.