Tag Archives: analogue

How many photos have ever been taken? | 1000memories

Today we take photos for granted. They are our memories of holidays and parties, of people and places. An explosion of cameras and places to share them (Facebook, twitter, instagram) means that our lives today are documented, not by an occasional oxidizing of silver halide but constantly recorded with GPS coordinates and time stamps. However it hasn’t always been like this – the oldest photograph is less than 200 years old

An interesting article, well worth the read. The bit that hits home for me is the shoebox thing. I’ve got three filing cabinet drawers of analogue photos. I am aware that even the most recent of those film negatives is getting on for 15 years old now. They will degrade, although they’re kept in the dark.

My task, currently, is to digitise my collection—though I find I am curating as I work, not bothering with images I am not interested in. Perhaps I should rethink this attitude. I offer this as a service to anyone who has important or valuable analogue images. Once a photo has been digitised, the original can be stored away safely, and the digital copy can be shared more readily.

If you have a collection of old photos you would like to digitise, but which you don’t have the time, skill or patience to do yourself, drop me a line.

Hat tip to Alex Small (@onemanrace) for pointing me to the link.

Avro Vulcan

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I’ve been doing to some scanning.

I’ve had a scanner that could perform transparency and negative scans for a while, but it had been a bit limited (35mm uncut strips only, no slides, etc). Doing any quantity of scans was always a bit of a chore, frankly.

About a year ago I purchased a better scanner, with pro level features. It was loaned to a small company I was involved in, and when they sadly went bust I got the machine back. Just recently a friend upgraded their Mac and I was essentially given their old G4 Mac mini. Ideal for a scanner station, where all it has to do is drive the scanner and run the software.

So I’ve been doing some scanning.

To familiarise myself with the kit and software I have begun the task of scanning a whole bunch of negatives I had selected a while ago. There’s stuff in there from a model railway show where I was “official” photographer, random stuff shot on black and white negative film, and some colour slides from the other half, dating back over four decades. All good stuff to learn how the scanner works, as I intend to try and drum up some business for it.

Anyway, the Vulcan is one of my favourite images—and aircraft. Shot on the old Olympus OM10 on Ilford HP5 ISO400 neg film, the plane was displaying at a Duxford air show in the Autumn of 1988. There’s another shot in the Flickr stream where the plane is almost directly overhead, silhouetted against some patchy clouds. I had forgotten I even took that shot.

Anyway, I guess I should plug the business. Please visit the Imagic Design web site and find out what I can do in the way of design and stuff.

Remember when…?

A friend pointed me earlier to a site dedicated to analogue audio tape cassette nostalgia, tapedeck.org. It’s a simple kind of site, just rows and rows of cassette tapes of all ages.

A happy half-hour or so was spent, remembering the various designs of tape cassette I used to buy. I also spent a while remembering when it was the thing to do to make your own mix-tapes by carefully selecting your favourite album tracks from vinyl LPs, arranging and timing them nicely to fit into a complete side of a C90 without leaving a massive gap at the end. 

(If you don’t know what LP, vinyl or C90 means, ask your grandparents!)

My preferred tape supplier was TDK. Indeed, I still have two AR-X90 cassettes in their unopened shrink wrap. Why, then, are the photos I’ve provided of Sony tapes? Well, before computers became fast enough, affordable enough and reliable enough to be audio/video recording devices, I used to mix and edit audio on reel-to-reel tape. Eventually, I moved to a multitrack cassette recorder—the kind of thing innumerable amateur groups used to record their demo tapes on in back bedrooms the country over, before sending them off to John Peel in the hope they would get a brief airing on his late night show on Radio 1. 

I wasn’t into making my own music, though. I preferred mucking about with sound effects and noises of various kinds. The epitome of audio cassette-dom, then, were the Sony Metal Master jobbies. Eschewing the rather common plastic shell, the Metal Masters used a ceramic composite for the shell and tape guide, in order to “provide the best possible sound quality”. The extra weight stopped the shell from vibrating in the recorder mechanism, and theoretically lowered the consequent tape flutter and so on.

We only owned one such tape, probably because the darned things were really expensive compared to the bog standard TDKs I used. We used this one tape for some audio track mixing for some video work, if I remember correctly. I couldn’t tell you whether it was successful or not, because it wasn’t long before we went digital—I bought a portable MiniDisc Walkman recorder shortly after, and we never really looked back.

So, this evening, I dug the old tapes out, dusted them down and took their portraits. I sent them over to tapedeck.org, and perhaps they’ll appear in the archives soon.