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geogphotos

What plans for old slides?

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On Ebay at the moment there are sales of a former professional photographer's work. He covered country sports, hunting, fishing etc for Country Life magazine. There are lots going of 200 slides at a  final selling price of between £10 - £25, and other smaller sets, for example, a selection  of 30 fishing pics staring off at £9.99. On enquiring the seller bought the entire 10,000 approx collection.

 

 It seems a shame to me that the collection is broken up like this but I suppose inevitable without copyright transfer. With copyright this collection of 10,000 pics would have value as a potential stock library all on its own.

 

It seems that generally what happens is that slide collections are bought at auctions  - then picked through for the most collectable pics ( steam trains, ships, cars etc) which can be sold either individually or in small sets to collectors. Then the rest gets either sold off in big lots, or more likely, mixed and muddled with many many others to form a large lot with plenty of variety  - a bit like you would buy old stamps I suppose.

 

Does it matter to you what will happen to your work when you are dead? Have you thought about the subject and made any plans? What about writing a copyright transfer document or including instructions as a codicil to your will? Without copyright they are Orphan Works and consequently of little commercial value. 

 

Not long back I remember a former stock agency in London that was trying to return slides to contributors against a tight deadline of the premises closing. It was mentioned that the ones that couldn't be traced were unfortunately going to be thrown into a skip. Nearly all local newspapers have done the same with their archives - into the bin. 

 

More generally think of all the slides taken primarily from 1950s -1990s and how they form a unique social and historical archive which is being dispersed, separated from context, and literally thrown away.

 

At today's prices every click of the shutter cost approx £1 - so they each meant something at that moment. A moment frozen in time - I must stop there before getting all lyrical! 

 

Does it matter to you what happens to your slides?

Edited by geogphotos

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35 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

Does it matter to you what happens to your slides?

 

 

Nope. I'll be dead.

 

Alan

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1 minute ago, Inchiquin said:

 

Nope. I'll be dead.

 

Alan

 

 

I'll have them then! 😁

 

And your name and work will live on .......

Edited by geogphotos
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In some ways this is inextricably linked to your other topic, how to digitise such collections, just the editing process is daunting I imagine, together with captioning and keywording, and that's before you get anywhere near scanning. The distribution of images from that former stock agency was entirely handled by volunteers as I remember and you wonder what has happened to them now that they have been reunited to the respective photographers or their families, at least the ones that were.

 

I suspect that any collections of slides handed down within families can be a problem, what can they do with them, and you're talking about slides, what about negatives? My wife's late father took a lot of slides in the sixties and they are all in a drawer (well several drawers in fact) in her family home but there's an emotional side to it as well of course so it never quite seems to be the right day when we should tackle them. 

 

I don't think any of them will end up on Alamy but actully it's quite nice that some historical pictures can find a home there.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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Very impressed at the way Ella Murtha took it upon herself to bring her mother's pictures back into the public domain with published books and exhibitions. Great pictures though of course.

 

http://www.tishmurtha.co.uk/

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I bought some at auction a few weeks ago. There were a lot of a particular Suffolk town and a lot of sailing. One of the slide boxes had a name on it. So I googled and found the name - the son of the photographer. I emailed and told him that I had lots of pics of him as a baby if he was interested!

 

The slides had been forgotten about and just went out in a house clearance to the auction. 

Edited by geogphotos

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I used to go to house clearance auctions in the days before the interweb and it was always very poignant seeing people's family albums and snaps in amongst the saucepans and Val Doonican records. I didn't buy any, perhaps I should have done!

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Then there's Vivian Maier of course, now that's a story.

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6 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Then there's Vivian Maier of course, now that's a story.

 

Yes that was interesting especially, to me, how so many photographers, ones who normally care a lot about copyright, seemed to develop a blind spot when it came to the work of a dead, poor, foreign, woman who seemed not to have family. Actually I thought the whole thing was scandalous. 

Edited by geogphotos

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OH is in a similar position with a couple of dozen Rondettes of various parental trips- I did my 6,000 a couple of years ago, with some going up here as archival (surprisingly few, about 3%, but it wasn't professional work) but she's expressed no great desire to have them scanned, and as it's a good piece of work I haven't pushed the idea too hard. I didn't dispose of the slides but presumably somebody will eventually.

I hadn't thought about it, but I've just realised I now have a suitable young person to assign my copyright to on the remorseful day.

Edited by spacecadet

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I have digitised some of my old slides, cleaned them up and some are even on Alamy.

However, many years ago before the interweb I bought an old photo album at a collectors fair. The photos dated from about 1894 to the early 1900s. Fortunately the majority of the images were captioned and a number of years later using the internet I was able to find out who the photographer was. Sadly he and his wife died without having any children and I have been unable to find anybody else descended from the family that I could pass the album onto. However, I have been able to turn my research into an illustrated talk. Family History is one of my hobbies which helped me a great deal as I knew where to look for info about him.

Perhaps the moral here is to annotate each photo in an album or whatever. We know who the photo is of, but do our children or other descendants know who the subjects are?

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5 hours ago, geogphotos said:

On Ebay at the moment there are sales of a former professional photographer's work. He covered country sports, hunting, fishing etc for Country Life magazine. There are lots going of 200 slides at a  final selling price of between £10 - £25, and other smaller sets, for example, a selection  of 30 fishing pics staring off at £9.99. On enquiring the seller bought the entire 10,000 approx collection.

 

 It seems a shame to me that the collection is broken up like this but I suppose inevitable without copyright transfer. With copyright this collection of 10,000 pics would have value as a potential stock library all on its own.

 

It seems that generally what happens is that slide collections are bought at auctions  - then picked through for the most collectable pics ( steam trains, ships, cars etc) which can be sold either individually or in small sets to collectors. Then the rest gets either sold off in big lots, or more likely, mixed and muddled with many many others to form a large lot with plenty of variety  - a bit like you would buy old stamps I suppose.

 

Does it matter to you what will happen to your work when you are dead? Have you thought about the subject and made any plans? What about writing a copyright transfer document or including instructions as a codicil to your will? Without copyright they are Orphan Works and consequently of little commercial value. 

 

Not long back I remember a former stock agency in London that was trying to return slides to contributors against a tight deadline of the premises closing. It was mentioned that the ones that couldn't be traced were unfortunately going to be thrown into a skip. Nearly all local newspapers have done the same with their archives - into the bin. 

 

More generally think of all the slides taken primarily from 1950s -1990s and how they form a unique social and historical archive which is being dispersed, separated from context, and literally thrown away.

 

At today's prices every click of the shutter cost approx £1 - so they each meant something at that moment. A moment frozen in time - I must stop there before getting all lyrical! 

 

Does it matter to you what happens to your slides?

I've been taking care of images and making sure that all agents and libraries know my next of kin.

Most have also been registered with the U.S. copyright office.

 

I have had a number of publishers contact me looking for the current © holder of images, one had passed away and was an Alamy contributor from the UK and

Alamy staff helped me contact his wife.

 

This is why I am now spending hours a day scanning old chromes.  I am also very careful that no image leaves my computer without all IPTC information.

 

Chuck

Edited by Chuck Nacke
English

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1 hour ago, David McGill said:

Perhaps the moral here is to annotate each photo in an album or whatever. We know who the photo is of, but do our children or other descendants know who the subjects are?

 

Yes, that is absolutely the right advice, I didn't take it myself with my mother's family pictures unfortunately. If they are prints then just getting the names written on the backs of the photos can actually be an interesting and worthwhile experience for all concerned. I thought this article in AP was good, in the end Ailsa McWhinnie lost all her family photos in a fire at the storage facility but she makes the point that if you have an archive to hand down it is your responsibility to edit out the dross first, not the next generation. The only problem with that is that their idea of dross might not be yours.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

Yes, that is absolutely the right advice, I didn't take it myself with my mother's family pictures unfortunately. If they are prints then just getting the names written on the backs of the photos can actually be an interesting and worthwhile experience for all concerned. I thought this article in AP was good, in the end Ailsa McWhinnie lost all her family photos in a fire at the storage facility but she makes the point that if you have an archive to hand down it is your responsibility to edit out the dross first, not the next generation. The only problem with that is that their idea of dross might not be yours.

 

 

 

 

I remember being advised that for stock it was best not to have cars and people in images because they would date them.

 

Looking at old slides from the 1960s it is precisely those that look dated that are of most interest.

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

Looking at old slides from the 1960s it is precisely those that look dated that are of most interest.

 

Exactly the same for me, though not for stock, I always tried to avoid cars whenever I could, the current models always seem so mundane. But yes, it's the first thing I look for in old photos.

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My collection will probably be donated to a Canadian charity/museum etc. in order to get an income tax credit for my estate.

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The lot on here, for what they are worth, will go to wife, then kids, then grandbairns.  Need to formalise that I guess.

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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

I remember being advised that for stock it was best not to have cars and people in images because they would date them.

 

It was stock once.....

2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

Looking at old slides from the 1960s it is precisely those that look dated that are of most interest.

......now it's archive. The medium is the message.

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20 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

My wife's late father took a lot of slides in the sixties and they are all in a drawer (well several drawers in fact) in her family home but there's an emotional side to it as well of course so it never quite seems to be the right day when we should tackle them. 

 

I can relate to this as my Dad died in 2016 and has left thousands of slides. He has images from when he worked all across Western Australia including some remote places in the 1960s, from when he worked in the UK in the late 60s, and has other images from visiting Europe in the 1970s with my Mum (I was actually there too but in utero so I didn't have a view). I feel that his images are pieces of history, and that as the other photography nut in the family it is incumbent upon me to digitise them. He usually wrote a year and location with each slide, so it will at least make my job easier knowing where places are. But I know it will be emotional too, and that includes all our family photographs as well taken with his trusty Agfa Ambi Silette. I also very recently found he had another camera I never knew about in the bottom of a wardrobe, a Braun Nurnberg Gloria (medium format). Both from the 1950s, these vintage cameras seem like graceful machines of a bygone era.

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2 hours ago, Sally R said:

I feel that his images are pieces of history, and that as the other photography nut in the family it is incumbent upon me to digitise them.

Yes, that's my position also, it's actually very satisfying digitising them, at least selectively, because often they've never been seen properly, particularly true of slides of course but I've also found negatives from my wife's father that his mother has never seen. Her memory is very good and it brings many stories to the surface.

 

The next problem is how to give some permanence to these newly digitised images, a life on a hard drive is precarious so I think it's going to have to be a one-off book of some kind, at least for the best ones.  The current generations probably don't have prints anyway, their lives are played out on Facebook & Instagram.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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4 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

The next problem is how to give some permanence to these newly digitised images, a life on a hard drive is precarious so I think it's going to have to be a one-off book of some kind, at least for the best ones.  The current generations probably don't have prints anyway, their lives are played out on Facebook & Instagram.

 

Yes I think a book is a good idea. I wish my Dad could still be here to see it. He couldn't do much photography in the last few years because of illness, and had done some very preliminary slide scanning, but only a tiny portion of his total collection. And yes it is true, photo prints are almost a thing of the past now. But I do quite like flipping through an actual photo album, a bit like reading a physical book as opposed to an iPad or Kindle.

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23 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

I'll have them then! 😁

 

And your name and work will live on .......

 

I'll take that as a compliment on my photography, Ian!

 

Alan

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