Jim Marshall

Film, Digital and Time

I have been doing more shooting with digital both in motion picture and still work.

The standard gripes about digital ring true for me and those are issues I just accept.

However, the one thing that I keep coming back to is the fact that no one is talking about long term storage and long term viability of the files. Labs talk about 100 and 200 year inks but this is all based on speculation not real world experience. Will these prints actually be around for 5 generations to look at?? Perhaps. I have more faith in the prints than I do in the files.

The digi-camp talk a lot about backing up your data. Yes. You must make back ups of your photos and video. In 3/5/10 years you will need to move that data to whatever the current storage form is.

This is the tedium that we all sign up for in order to get a product that is immediate.

The bigger question is assuming that we all do what we are supposed to and make our back ups and move the files with time who is to say that these files will be of any use in 10 years and more??

Will JPEG, TIFF, DNG or better yet any of the specific camera RAW formats be viable in time??

Will MOV , WMV, H264 be viable in time??

We can look at images shot on the battlefield from 1863/1916/1943 because of their inherent physicality. We can watch a president or leader because of the physicality of motion picture film. In 150 years will these files turn into physical objects or will they simply be an arcane form of 0’s and 1’s that add up to nothing??

Lately I have been shooting bands for promotion and Seattle Sound Magazine this has me thinking about the bands and posterity. Will these digital images be relevant if this band makes it big?? Will I be able to call these images historic?? Will these images be around as Charles Peterson’s and Jim Marshall’s are?? Standing as a testament to a band’s arc through stardom.

I have my doubts.

Todays file formats will be tomorrows IBM punch cards. Useless code on stacks of CDs/DVDs/Blu-Rays and lifeless hard drives.

Yet digital imaging isn’t going away. Nor should it. Digital imaging just needs to be put into perspective against time.

A lot of questions get raised with no clear answers. It is best to look at each image as a valuable asset to be saved and used in the future.

Posted in Adam Forslund, Band Photography, Charles Peterson, Jim Marshall, Seattle Sound No Comments »