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John Elk

disposal of 35 mm slides

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Dear All.  Realizing that my 400,000 or so 35 mm transparencies are now essentially worthless (and are taking up a lot of room) I am trying to decide what is the easiest and most efficacious way of disposing of them.  All of them are stored in 20 images per sheet plastic sheets and every one of them is labeled with identification and my name.  The most obvious thing to do is just to slowly throw them out in the trash, but ideally I would like to take the slides out of the sheets, which I would then hope to recycle (though given their age none of these sheets has the triangle recycling symbol on them and as I used different products over time I'm quite sure they're not all of the same composition).  I suppose I am also a bit worried about the fact that my name is on each slide, though I can't image anyone pawing through old, discarded images to try to resell them; still, it's something I do worry about a bit.  The only colleague I know personally who has done this put his images in a trashcan and then threw bleach on them before disposing of them, but this would use a LOT of bleach and wouldn't take care of the label issue.  I think this is as much detail as my problem deserves, so if you have any ideas/solutions to share with me I would be very much obliged.  Thank you all! 

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14 hours ago, John Elk said:

Dear All.  Realizing that my 400,000 or so 35 mm transparencies are now essentially worthless (and are taking up a lot of room) I am trying to decide what is the easiest and most efficacious way of disposing of them.  All of them are stored in 20 images per sheet plastic sheets and every one of them is labeled with identification and my name.  The most obvious thing to do is just to slowly throw them out in the trash, but ideally I would like to take the slides out of the sheets, which I would then hope to recycle (though given their age none of these sheets has the triangle recycling symbol on them and as I used different products over time I'm quite sure they're not all of the same composition).  I suppose I am also a bit worried about the fact that my name is on each slide, though I can't image anyone pawing through old, discarded images to try to resell them; still, it's something I do worry about a bit.  The only colleague I know personally who has done this put his images in a trashcan and then threw bleach on them before disposing of them, but this would use a LOT of bleach and wouldn't take care of the label issue.  I think this is as much detail as my problem deserves, so if you have any ideas/solutions to share with me I would be very much obliged.  Thank you all! 

 

There must be some that you could upload via the archive route?

 

It seems a waste to throw them in the trash! I'll take them off your hands rather than throw them away!!

 

John.

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deleted

 

 

Edited by geogphotos

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Many decades ago a relative who was a professional photographer put his reject slides in the bin. After he found someone going through the bin to collect some he started cutting them in half. 

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It's a very large quantity of plastic and also quite a lot of reclaimable silver. They certainly shouldn't be placed in the trash, where they will go straight to landfill. There will be companies who recycle this kind of material, if you look around.

 

Alex

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18 minutes ago, Alex Ramsay said:

reclaimable silver.

The silver's bleached out of colour transparencies.

 I can't bring myself to dispose of mine, but there are only 5000. Sorry, no answer.

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You could try sorting out them out by general subject matter and offering bundled sets on ebay.

“Central American Wildlife - 1000 35mm transparencies”
…or
“Musicians from around the world playing their instruments – 500 35mm transparencies”
…or
“Public Transport of the Americas – 600 35mm transparencies”

This type of offer could appeal to collectors of ephemera, schools projects, editors of websites or magazines etc:

Don’t expect a mad rush, but if you get $10 that’s more than what you would get throwing them in the trash, and you would have the satisfaction of knowing that someone has found a use for them.

There are people selling old transparencies on ebay - the ones I’ve looked at look a bit overpriced for just small collections.


Good luck!

Dave

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a friend of mine always used an old-fashioned desk-top spike to put a savage hole in all his rejected slides. The left-over hanging files may well have been made from two types of plastic front and back so be not easy to recycle. These ebay sales of slide collections sound very dubious and yield pathetic prices. You can make book that collectors will have little regard to copyright niceties.

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400,000 holes is a lot of holes! Although you could do them 20 at a time I suppose

Our domestic shredder will do credit cards, so presumably slides would go, but only one or two at a time. I think the ebay route only works for found collections. I don't think I'd sell my slides on- if the OP has decided they have to go then presumably he's considered that route already..

There could be half a dozen different materials involved and that's the problem for recycling. I had to bin VHS cassettes recently. The tip could have coped with the cases, and the labels, and the shells, and the metal bits- separately. Together, they had to go in the mixed materials, and that means landfill or incinerate, alas.

I think our garden shredder would do them- is there a friend or neighbour who has one?

Edited by spacecadet

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Not sure if this would work for you but a photographer friend of mine donated his collection of film images to a college...not sure what the college will do with them but they took them!

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Have a good look on Ebay. One individual slide sold for £7.50 a few days ago - I missed out at the last second and am still kicking myself - I should have bid £20 Max and I would have got it!

 

200 themed slides for £10- £25 is normal. A jumble of 500 leftovers that have been picked through for the best subjects might fetch £20. Who knows?

 

People sell old slide boxes, certainly the plastic slide holder sheets sell. 

 

The older and more 'retro' an item is the more there is demand. Old 1950s Kodachromes with the red border are very saleable as are old yellow Kodachrome cardboard boxes.

 

You would be throwing away a lot of money and also a  lot of history.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TWO-HUNDRED-35mm-SLIDES-COUNTRY-LIFE-PHOTOGRAPHER-CAPTURING-HUNTING-FISHING/303489516948?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D96d5b50195c54f96b5f4f44b2e74a54f%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D8%26sd%3D163794322032%26itm%3D303489516948%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2045573&_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042

 

"This large collection of TWO HUNDRED 35mm slides came from a professional photographer and they date from the 1970's through to the 1990's. Many of his assignments related to rural and coastal life and nature within the United Kingdom. His well taken pictures could be found in such magazines as Country Life and Horse & Hound etc"

 

Edited by geogphotos
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Personally, I couldn't countenance anybody "collecting" my old slides, not even the duff ones. My mate with the spike method only did them in modest batches, but you know what they say about how do you eat an elephant? A little bit at a time! Rather like my project of scanning my archive; I just got stuck in and did little else for two years.

 

I like the idea of a garden shredder! A cheap one would do, or you could hire one for the week-end if you don't have space to store one. That would certainly make a mess of slides, say a hundred or two at a time. You might take a few hanging sheets along to your local  recycling centre and ask if they can take them. The metal bars for hanging them would certainly be OK in the metal disposal skip. Agencies like Robert Harding got rid of an awful lot of files when they closed up their central London offices. Sending the originals back to photographers was a huge project for many agencies! Some just chucked them and moved on.

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17 minutes ago, Robert M Estall said:

I like the idea of a garden shredder!

The idea is awful but if the decision's already made I'm sure it would do the job. Ours is only a smallish domestic type but it still munches up a 6' branch 2" thick in about 20 seconds.

Just taking 400000 slides out of the sleeves would take an age- I agree it would be nice to save the sleeves but thin plastic is always a problem- qv. carrier bags.

Somebody else is going to have to chuck mine away though- I can't do it.

Edited by spacecadet

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By the way if you remember that agency that closed in London and there was a race against time to find the photographers? It ended well with some 100,000 slides being accepted by a cultural organisation.

 

I bought some slides at a local auction recently. I now have the baby photos - splashing naked in the bath, in his high chair - of a CEO of a major UK company! 😃

Edited by geogphotos

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I bought some slides at a local auction recently. I now have the baby photos - splashing naked in the bath, in his high chair - of a CEO of a major UK company! 

 

Why would you want those?

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19 minutes ago, Robert M Estall said:

I bought some slides at a local auction recently. I now have the baby photos - splashing naked in the bath, in his high chair - of a CEO of a major UK company! 

 

Why would you want those?

Probably included accidentally and geog didn't specifically want those, if he even noticed them beforehand. That would probably be Norfolk, not Suffolk.

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Is this work you have scanned & uploaded? 
Do you want to destroy it so other people can't use it & sell the images

If you have material you want to scan and upload it's worth using a commmercial scanning service. I've had work done by https://www.saturn-films.co.uk and it's very reasonably priced and good quality. 
Also, as geogphotos says, there's an active market on Ebay for slides, and at general auctions. I've watched lots of slides go for what I consider to be staggering amounts when you can't reasonably check condition & subject matter properly before the auction starts. There was a cardboard box with 20 ish of those old wooden slide boxes containing amateur slides of continental Europe - holidays etc - from the 1960's at our local household auction last year went for £120

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40 minutes ago, Robert M Estall said:

I bought some slides at a local auction recently. I now have the baby photos - splashing naked in the bath, in his high chair - of a CEO of a major UK company! 

 

Why would you want those?

 

 

Blackmail? 😃

 

 

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My thanks to all for their suggestions.  Perhaps 5% of those 400,000 images are scanned; I did all of these myself with a Nikon scanner and used the resulting images for our website and submissions to our own clients and agencies.  Essentially all of these images are travel; many U.S. states and over 100 countries from the late 1960's until we converted to digital around 1998.  Given the quality difference between a new digital file and a scan of an image that is now at least 20+ years old, I simply don't think the investment in time and effort would be worthwhile to scan any more.  Some may have some historical interest, but again it's just not worth the time and energy to go through them.  I continue to shoot and contribute, but even that has slowed down as royalty prices have fallen and since the economic crisis of 2008 what was once a thriving business through the 1980's, '90's and into the early 2000's is now almost moribund.  And as I now move through my 70's I've got to prioritize how I use my remaining years, and somehow trying to hawk old slides just doesn't make the cut.  I'd much rather spend these years with our continued travels (and the several months each year we now live in France).  We throw out old clothes we've not worn in years and the some 17 filing cabinets of old slides do take up quite a bit of room in our house that we could use for other things.  Time to clean obsolete things away.  Thanks again to all!   John       

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Maybe have a look at the thread about slide scanning using a DSLR and copying arrangement. But I agree, going through that many would take a while. It took me a fortnight to get through 5000. You obviously have better things to do.

Good luck with the garden chipper.

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When I went through my tightly edited archive of 75000, I selected about 6% for high res scanning putting a mark on each so I could go back and find the original if needed. That was a good ten years ago and I have never gone back to fish one out. I too am getting towards the end of my seventies and thinking I should do some sorting. Fortunately we have a generous sized old house but my hording needs taking in hand. I recon if I kept all the scanned originals and perhaps just a few more, I could get it down to well under 10,000, say a couple of filing drawers. Strangely enough, in America where we usually think things are BIG, you use 20 to the sheet files which fit in Quarto files but here in UK we almost all used 24 to the sheet files to fit foolscap filing cabinets.

 

Trust me on this one, I had a nice little side-line in getting slide sheets made and sold a lot for about 30 years. I had several non-standard designs which no shops would stock but I did shift a whole lot of them! I could count on one hand the number of requests for the smaller sizes over all the years.

Edited by Robert M Estall
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17 hours ago, John Elk said:

My thanks to all for their suggestions.  Perhaps 5% of those 400,000 images are scanned; I did all of these myself with a Nikon scanner and used the resulting images for our website and submissions to our own clients and agencies.  Essentially all of these images are travel; many U.S. states and over 100 countries from the late 1960's until we converted to digital around 1998.  Given the quality difference between a new digital file and a scan of an image that is now at least 20+ years old, I simply don't think the investment in time and effort would be worthwhile to scan any more.  Some may have some historical interest, but again it's just not worth the time and energy to go through them.  I continue to shoot and contribute, but even that has slowed down as royalty prices have fallen and since the economic crisis of 2008 what was once a thriving business through the 1980's, '90's and into the early 2000's is now almost moribund.  And as I now move through my 70's I've got to prioritize how I use my remaining years, and somehow trying to hawk old slides just doesn't make the cut.  I'd much rather spend these years with our continued travels (and the several months each year we now live in France).  We throw out old clothes we've not worn in years and the some 17 filing cabinets of old slides do take up quite a bit of room in our house that we could use for other things.  Time to clean obsolete things away.  Thanks again to all!   John       

 

You might think about donating your archive to a charity - though it might take bit of effort to find one with the resources to deal with it all. 

 

One recent eBay auction is for 200 plastic Agfachrome mounts - it starts at £9.99 plus postage. The buyer has to open them up to remove the slide and replace with their own.

 

There does seem to be a growing interest in the entire 'retro' aspect of film and everything to do with it. People collecting slides, mounting them the way they like in the right mounts, storing etc and presumably having slide shows. 

 

I fully understand that you have better things to do but equally throwing all this work in the garbage would be just wrong (IMHO) - environmentally, culturally, and economically. 

 

What about putting out some adverts and see what offers you receive? 

Edited by geogphotos
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On 18/02/2020 at 04:56, zxzoomy said:

Many decades ago a relative who was a professional photographer put his reject slides in the bin. After he found someone going through the bin to collect some he started cutting them in half. 

Was your relative Jay Maisel?

Because that's a very well known Jay Maisel story.

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They'll eventually have value as vintage images. If you have heirs, throwing them away may be robbing their inheritance.

Try the DSLR copy route.

You may be able to get a few interns from a local college to help out.

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0025Maisel.jpg?resize=748%2C1024&ssl=1

Jay Maisel in 1982 (here)

 

wim

  • Haha 2

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