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A Slippery Slide or ...

How Not Use Lose Your Images By David Hague

One of the more reflectively lamentable situations in our family occured way back in around 1967. My father had been a successful professional photographer in the UK, and as a hobby, also took photographs (how quaint!). He especially had a penchant for old cathedrals, ruins, archaelogical sites and the like, all lovingly recorded on his Leica M2 35mm camera in slide (transparency) format (Dad favoured Agfa over Kodak which was rare back then).Dad also used a Rollielfex and Rolliecord camera for large format black and white work which he self processed (Ilford was preferred) - to the best of my knowledge, he never, ever tried his hand at self processing colour.

Anyway, over the period of time he took his slides - which I have calculated to around 15 years - Dad took literally thousands of them. I remember vividly waiting for the little boxes with the latest batch to come back from the laboratory almost as much as I remember the little hessian bags that carried those precious tins of film to the lab.

(As an aside, there was a very good mystery / thriller / spy novel written by Desmond Bagley that had the ubiquitous slide mailer box as a main character and set off memory in Iceland and called Running Blind.)

But I digress.

All of Dad's slides were carefully catalogued and labelled and packed into proper dust proof slide boxes. I would be guessing, but I doubt there were less than 10,000 slides in the total collection.

Sadly however, when we moved from the UK to Australia and up to the Kimberleys, somehow all of these precius memories went bye-byes for ever. As you can imagine, my Dad was devastated. Those records of early days in England travelling all over the countryside could never be replaced. Finito. Gone.

Even more sadly, only a few short years later, in  the mid 70's, my Dad passed away at the young age of 54 from a massive heart attack- like many, he had never bothered to get himself checked over as he believed that being quite fit as an accomplished push bike long distance racer / tourer, he was probably immune from any heart ailments. Along with him went his cherished collection of cameras, as in those days, the Australian Government still had the archaic law of death duties in place. I hate to think how much those cameras are worth today. I'd love to get my hands on an M2 ......

Anyway. I hadn't thought of this particular family story for many years until the other morning. I had been perusing some concepts for stories, and come across an idea for a tutorial to use Sony Vegas for creating still image slide shows and burning them to DVD using DVD Architect. While browsing the brief from the journo about the idea, it suddenly struck me that on my various hard drives, I have literally thousands of images taken over the last umpteen yars from any number of digital still and video cameras I have owned, tested and reviewed.

Holidays to places as far apart as Vanuatu and Broome; my brother's funeral (he also died at age 54+days EXACTLY the same as my dad of the same thing - convinced to get checked out yet?); the reconciliation after 20 years with my son from my first marriage; my second wedding; dogs, boats, cars, parties, realtives, nieces and nephews, people - all those things that you can look at in photos down the track and say "I remember that ...".

It also struck me that hard drive crashes were not an impossibility, not unlike a furniture remover losing boxes and boxes of slides.

You get the picture I hope, if you'll pardon the pun. I at least have suddenly decided I don't want to be like the mechanic in the street - you know, he is the one with the crappiest car?




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David is the owner and publisher of Australian Videocamera. He has a background in media dating back to 1979 when he first got involved with photojournalism in motorsport, and went from there into technology via a 5 year stint with Tandy Computers.

Moving back to WA, David wrote scripts for Computer Television for video training for the just released Windows and Office 95 among others, and was then lured to Sydney to create web sites for the newly commercial Internet in 1995, building hundreds of sites under contract to OzEmail including Coates Hire, Hertz Queensland, John Williamson, the NSW Board of Studies and many, many more.

David can be contacted via  david@auscamonline.com

Related Keywords:Transparency, AGFA, slide, storage


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