Further down the Rabbit Hole

Although now into March we have more normal weather the “Mad March Days” wet and windy, February was of a very different order, very Spring like which led me to focus on preparing things for my next home improvement project which I hope is the last part of the jigsaw. However after a spurt of such activity encouraged by very warm weather, I returned to my photographic archiving task which increasingly is like disappearing down a rabbit hole !

The attached gallery kind of describes the whole process from the traditional “shoe box” full of film negatives some still in the envelopes they came back in from the developers, photographic albums, random loose photographs from earlier times portraying now forgotten faces staring out from their black and white world, transparencies mounted and unmounted. All this just the wet film my digital collection is really as bad in its own way, because it is neatly hidden on hard drives doesn't make it any better.

Putting Pictures to Work

I wrote in an earlier post that a few years back I had started with an idea of putting a few pictures on the wall and ended up with over 200 and many of the pictures below put that into perspective. To me if pictures aren't displayed in some way, on the web, on your walls and so on, they really don't serve any useful purpose but it goes beyond this. One of my DSLRs will shoot at 10 frames per second and that, sometimes is very useful but not always, we all of us produce mountains of data today, pictures are just data but how much of it is actually useful ? I am often amused when people try to find a picture on their smartphone to show me, it generally takes forever because they have far too many pictures on it many of which are crap.

Originally the idea to create my own bound volumes was to create albums for my children of all the images that I had found of them in my wet film archive but also from this came the idea of making volumes of my own “better” images. So that stated it now seems simple but of course it is not because every album must tell a “story” have a logical narrative, you can't just throw anything in randomly therefore you have to go through and organise all your original material in some form.

Place, Time, Person, Event … even though you will not be using most of the material and this applies to both the wet film and the digital material. It's a big task but must be done so in the end I will be designing these albums and redesigning them for quite some months before I get to actually deciding that I have got the content right and can then turn to producing the final version of them.

Now a New Printer ?

However that is not the only issue that has cropped up. I have been practising my bookbinding and whilst I will likely never need to do “proper binding” in the sense of how we think of bound hard backed books, this is because I fairly quickly discovered the basic book designs that would best suit my purposes and have concentrated on perfecting making those. Theory though is never enough by itself, you need to dig in and get your hands dirty because it is the only way you find your problems which may be as simple as where you put your glue pot and how you layout your workspace. However once you have completed a few blank dummies, you need to move on to working with real material, actual pictures to learn how you will handle them in your production process.

Therefore I got a whole load of images and printed them out and this led me to look at my inkjet printers. My A4 one is only a few years old and uses modern inks but my A3 printer is probably 17 years old and I don't think is listed any more even on the Epson website and when it comes to drivers Windows 10 scratches its head and goes “tut, tut, tut...” So I have to decide whether I want to use A3 which means a brand new printer or whether using A3 size pages, I stick to A4 or less for the prints and glue the pictures onto larger (A3) mount pages. It's an interesting problem to consider because whilst I can easily see the “family albums” being pages with several pictures on one page, when it comes to my “best pictures” albums it will most often be single images because if you are dispassionately critical, out of thousands of pictures you take each year you will produce under 20 that are worth preserving.

We shall see but I suppose that in one sense it doesn't matter too much, it won't be the cost of the printer that matters too much because it is the ink where the manufacturers of printers aim to make their money plus if I want to print on high quality paper that is where the real costs add up, not the one off cost of a bit of hardware !

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