[STOCKPHOTO] Advice sought on a "historic" photo archive

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mzsupa5

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Dec 28, 2006, 9:26:23 AM12/28/06
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Chatting to an old schoolmate at a party I discovered that he has just
been given a huge collection (x00,000??, three pallet loads) of
original negs dating from the sixties and seventies which were the
pictures taken by staff photographers of an English regional newspaper.
He is an illustrator/freelance writer/self publishing local historian
with no background in photography but stepped in to save a historic
asset that was on its way to the dump. He has acquired copyright of
the pictures. The content of the archive is local news,personalities,
sport, scenery and any national figures who strayed into the region
within range of the paper's staff snappers. He is seeking funding to
preserve the originals and is hoping to scan part of the collection.
What is the likelihood of raising useful income by placing vintage
images with an agency? any advice or pitfalls to avoid in dealing with
this sort of material?

Thanks
Tony Collins

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Ken Lieberman

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Dec 28, 2006, 10:52:30 AM12/28/06
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Dear Tony,
Have you thought of contacting someone in the British government offices responsible for cultual affairs or history? I'll bet they would be interested.
Best,
Ken Lieberman


----- Original Message -----
From: mzsupa5
To: STOCKPHOTO@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 4:03 PM
Subject: [STOCKPHOTO] Advice sought on a "historic" photo archive

Chatting to an old schoolmate at a party I discovered that he has just
been given a huge collection (x00,000??, three pallet loads) of
original negs dating from the sixties and seventies which were the
pictures taken by staff photographers of an English regional newspaper.
He is an illustrator/freelance writer/self publishing local historian
with no background in photography but stepped in to save a historic
asset that was on its way to the dump. He has acquired copyright of
the pictures. The content of the archive is local news,personalities,
sport, scenery and any national figures who strayed into the region
within range of the paper's staff snappers. He is seeking funding to
preserve the originals and is hoping to scan part of the collection.
What is the likelihood of raising useful income by placing vintage
images with an agency? any advice or pitfalls to avoid in dealing with
this sort of material?

Thanks
Tony Collins

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Mary Ann Melton

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Dec 28, 2006, 10:51:05 AM12/28/06
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I think this should be carefully thought out and researched. I
suspect that there are going to be hidden treasures that will be
worth a lot. Start with the most prestigious and well established
agencies.

Mary Ann Melton


On Dec 27, 2006, at 3:03 PM, mzsupa5 wrote:

> Chatting to an old schoolmate at a party I discovered that he has just
> been given a huge collection (x00,000??, three pallet loads) of
> original negs dating from the sixties and seventies which were the
> pictures taken by staff photographers of an English regional
> newspaper.
> He is an illustrator/freelance writer/self publishing local historian
> with no background in photography but stepped in to save a historic
> asset that was on its way to the dump. He has acquired copyright of
> the pictures. The content of the archive is local news,personalities,
> sport, scenery and any national figures who strayed into the region
> within range of the paper's staff snappers. He is seeking funding to
> preserve the originals and is hoping to scan part of the collection.
> What is the likelihood of raising useful income by placing vintage
> images with an agency? any advice or pitfalls to avoid in dealing with
> this sort of material?
>
> Thanks
> Tony Collins
>
>
>

Mary Ann Melton

Mary Ann's View Nature Photography Website
http://www.io.com/~hmelton/maryann/

Mary Ann's Blog
http://maryannmelton.blogspot.com/



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Mike Shipman/Blue Planet Photography

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Dec 28, 2006, 11:01:38 AM12/28/06
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You might also check into a local university to see if they would take the
photo archive. Al Weber (andsweber@aol.com), who worked with Ansell Adams
and is working hard to develop archiving programs for photo libraries in
California, would be a great contact. I've talked with him several times
about what he is doing, which is putting together materials to assist
photographers and others in preserving historic collections, primarily
through universities that can correctly store and safely maintain and use
the images. You would need to work out a contract as to the uses and
benefits for you and whatever institution held the collection, but it would
probably be safer out of your hands, in general.

Mike Shipman



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Ernest H. Robl

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Dec 28, 2006, 11:20:09 AM12/28/06
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I don't recall all of the information in the original post, but
much of the value of the collection would depend on the
amount of data you have with each image -- data, location,
people depicted, etc.

Don't underestimate the amount of work required to
organize and catalog such a collection.

(I worked in a major university library years ago and
also wrote the now long-out-of-print book,
Organizing Your Photographs. You can still find
used copies from time to time or find copies in
libraries. Though the computer chapters are now
very dated, the basic principles discussed in other
chapters still apply.)

I also have a much shorter piece on image nunbering,
filing and retrieval issues on my site that may help:

http://www.robl.w1.com/aspp-image.htm

Even if you are not going to try to organize the
collection yourself, understanding the issues
related to organizing such a collection may help
in talking with organizations thay may be
interested in acquiring the collection.

-- Ernest

--
Ernest H. Robl, Durham,NC,USA Stock photos; photojournalism; writing
Specializing in transportation and travel subjects for more than 35 years.
mailto:ehr@mindspring.com Phone +1 (919) 401-9480 Fax 402-0721
Web site: http://www.robl.w1.com "I'd rather be on the train."
Intermodal Container FAQ: http://www.robl.w1.com/Transport/intermod.htm

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Valerie Henschel

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Dec 28, 2006, 12:09:29 PM12/28/06
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Mike,
I disagree.
If he owns the copyrights, he is in the best position to administer the collection. Starting his own company to market the images is a good way to earn a living and make images available to those who would use them to bring the past to the future.
To many of our institutions do not have the resources or support necessary to properly administer an archive.
The trick here is to have the collection inventoried, then make decisions about which images will be most marketable under certain delivery systems.
He will need to figure out a business plan for planning his advertising of the archive, and prioritize which efforts will be likely to bring in cash flow the fastest, which will get the business operational and bring in income to support the archive.
Digital delivery requires scanning and keywording, time consuming processes. However, he can start marketing images through reprint agreements with others that allow certain images to be published in print form for resale to the public. This can help start the revenue flowing. He will need to identify a set of images that have high resale appeal, and contact publishers with his offerings. They may be historic events or perhaps of humor or other emotional appealing images.
A note of caution here. Reprinting and selling usage rights will be governed by the rights granted by individuals being photographed. He may find image usage limited by lack of model releases. Editorial uses should be no problem, but commercial uses still require conforming to legal standards. He will need the advice of a good intellectual property lawyer.
He can also use the internet to advertise the archive and image availability, drawing in buyers to the archive, whose needs can be filled by an archivist. Images can be scanned for delivery, adding them to a digital marketing database for faster delivery in the future.
The key is to start slowly, organizing the archive for quick access, and gradually reducing the time required for retrieving a specific image for a client. Good inventory lists and a retrieval system are a big priority.
In other words, he becomes an stock agency with only one supplier!
He should also look into joining the British support groups for agencies, museums, and archives to learn more about administering a historical collection. They have information he will need about marketing, public funding and grants, government purchasing, and promotional support.
He has been in the right place at the right time, and had a very valuable asset handed to him. It will take some work, but he has a good potential for keeping some very valuable images alive and earning some good money in the process.

Valerie Henschel
Regional Photo
henschel@tenforward.com



----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Shipman/Blue Planet Photography
To: STOCKPHOTO@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 7:59 AM
Subject: RE: [STOCKPHOTO] Advice sought on a "historic" photo archive

You might also check into a local university to see if they would take the
photo archive. Al Weber (andsweber@aol.com), who worked with Ansell Adams
and is working hard to develop archiving programs for photo libraries in
California, would be a great contact. I've talked with him several times
about what he is doing, which is putting together materials to assist
photographers and others in preserving historic collections, primarily
through universities that can correctly store and safely maintain and use
the images. You would need to work out a contract as to the uses and
benefits for you and whatever institution held the collection, but it would
probably be safer out of your hands, in general.

Mike Shipman

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Mike Shipman/Blue Planet Photography

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Dec 28, 2006, 12:44:39 PM12/28/06
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Valerie,

Not all universities are able to properly house and care for a photography
collection (prints, negatives, slides, digital files). I suggested that
contact be made with Al Weber who has spent the past several years working
with the University of California at Davis to establish procedures and
guidelines for proper care, storage and use of photographic collections,
getting funding, usage guidelines, access, etc. at UC-Davis and at other
qualified institutions. I'm not suggesting he give up his collection to any
institution. I was very much simplifying the process. It could take several
years to establish the framework to transfer a collection, determine legal
status of image use and the type of use (commercial/editorial), acquire
model/property releases (if necessary, or determine if there is the need).
The copyright owner retains copyright, if they wish, but like donating
historic pieces to a museum, the institution may have better facilities and
ability to raise funds to administer the collection. Students to research,
catalog, and process, outlets for licensing, sales, etc. that could be
overwhelming to an individual with three pallets of negatives.

The situation may be different in Britain and there may not be a viable
institutional option. However, I think it's an option that should be
explored and Al Weber is one of (if not the only) pioneers trying to set up
procedures that allow important image collections to be preserved and used
rather than thrown away as they are often done because very few individuals
have all the resources to do it on their own.

An agreement with the proper institution does not have to impact in any way
the copyright holder's ability to market those images. The collections Al
Weber is working with are mostly from estates rather than owned by living
individuals, so there might be some issues there. On the surface, if the
collection is valuable from a historical perspective, and there is interest
from an institution to house it, I don't see what the issue is. What happens
if the individual can't raise the funds to operate a stock agency with these
images? What happens if the individual needs the space taken up by these
pallets? It's off to the landfill perhaps, or the collection is sold off bit
by bit and the historical value is lost. I'm looking at this not just from a
business point of view since it might be more cost effective to contact
Getty to see if they want to buy the whole thing. Then, they have it as
wholly owned content and nobody benefits but Getty. Placing such a
collection with a university could allow for a broader range of uses other
than stock that could directly benefit a wider range of people.

Just my thoughts. But, after talking with Al Weber and listening to his
stories of collections from known photographers being destined for the
landfill because nobody had the resources to care for them, it made me
reevaluate the usefulness of photographic images not just as a
business/income resource but a part of our human history. I was just
offering that there are other options than having to take on that task
alone.



Mike Shipman

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Ian Murray

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Dec 28, 2006, 1:49:05 PM12/28/06
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Dear Tony,

There's something a bit fishy about this. I can't understand any decent
regional newspaper just throwing away so much heritage with so much
real commercial value. Even if they didn't want to make use of it I
can't understand why it didn't go to a local university, local history
group or similar. All the regional papers I see make profitable use of
their archive for features and local interest books etc.

It beggars belief to me that they would deliberatley throw all this
into a landfill site. There ought to be a law against it!

Which newspaper I wonder?

Regards,

Ian Murray

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Mike Shipman/Blue Planet Photography

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Dec 28, 2006, 2:22:00 PM12/28/06
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An update on the email address I provided for Al Weber. His current email
is: weber@stare.net



Mike Shipman

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Ian Murray

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Dec 28, 2006, 3:04:40 PM12/28/06
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> Actually, I don't find this at all unusual. First, the collection
may
> take up space that the newspaper needs for other purposes.
> Second, it may have concluded the the small possibility of
> using some of these images in the future does not provide
> enough incentive for keeping and maintaining the collection.
> If the collection is not already in archival containers, just
> putting thousands of negatives in acid-free envelopes could
> cost a lot.
>
> And, again, depending on the state of the collection, it could
> be very expensive to go through and catalog and then service
> this collection. In all likelyhood, someone would also want to
> scan this collection for future use. Again, that's a huge
> expense. I presume that the negatives are in a variety of
> formats and would have to be scanned one at a time.
>
> The biggest expense of most libraries is not the content but
> the staff that organizes and works with that content.
>
> -- Ernest

Or they could throw the lot into cardboard boxes and deposit it all
at the local library.

I wonder what the local community think?

Ian Murray

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Neill Watson

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Dec 28, 2006, 3:57:01 PM12/28/06
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On 28/12/06 8:00 pm, "Ian Murray" wrote:
>
> Or they could throw the lot into cardboard boxes and deposit it all
> at the local library.
>

And then what? A very good local commercial photographer here recently gave
his archive to the local council. I was banging my head on the desk in
frustration. There were brilliant shots of steel works, ship building and
an archive of industrial life in north east England.

It's now sitting in a load of boxes in a warehouse, probably never to be
seen again. You average library / council have no resource either physical
or financial to catalogue, archive and digitise a collection this size.
Indeed very few organisations have. It needs a knowledgeable edit down and
then archiving properly with the best shots digitising.

I feel the same as you, there should be a law against disposing of it, but
there are millions of frames out there now that may well never be seen again
because of the vast resource required to make it viewable.

I've a growing collection myself of stuff rescued from the skip, from 50's
Kodachromes to 1910 glass plate negs. I'm a magpie for this stuff and I'm
tying to make sense of it and catalogue it as I have the time.

Regards,

Neill Watson

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mzsupa5

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Dec 28, 2006, 4:39:52 PM12/28/06
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Yes Ernest, whether these sorts of collections can survive depends
on whether a self financing future can be found, or a philanthropic
benefactor. I expect much of the material is duplicated alternative
shots that have just gone to the paper's library and accumulated
over the years. I suppose for each collection destroyed,the rarity
and value of survivors increases :-). The local newspapers have
exploited the nostalgia value of some material but usually pre war
and Blitz stuff.

Tony Colins

Ibe--- In STOCKPHOTO@yahoogroups.com, "Ernest H. Robl" <ehr@...>
wrote:


>
> At 06:40 PM 12/28/06 -0000, Ian Murray wrote:
> >Dear Tony,
> >
> >There's something a bit fishy about this. I can't understand any
decent
> >regional newspaper just throwing away so much heritage with so
much
> >real commercial value. Even if they didn't want to make use of it
I
> >can't understand why it didn't go to a local university, local
history
> >group or similar. All the regional papers I see make profitable
use of
> >their archive for features and local interest books etc.
> >
> >It beggars belief to me that they would deliberatley throw all
this
> >into a landfill site. There ought to be a law against it!
> >
> >Which newspaper I wonder?
>
>

> Actually, I don't find this at all unusual. First, the collection
may
> take up space that the newspaper needs for other purposes.
> Second, it may have concluded the the small possibility of
> using some of these images in the future does not provide
> enough incentive for keeping and maintaining the collection.
> If the collection is not already in archival containers, just
> putting thousands of negatives in acid-free envelopes could
> cost a lot.
>
> And, again, depending on the state of the collection, it could
> be very expensive to go through and catalog and then service
> this collection. In all likelyhood, someone would also want to
> scan this collection for future use. Again, that's a huge
> expense. I presume that the negatives are in a variety of
> formats and would have to be scanned one at a time.
>
> The biggest expense of most libraries is not the content but
> the staff that organizes and works with that content.
>
> -- Ernest
>

> --
> Ernest H. Robl, Durham,NC,USA Stock photos; photojournalism;
writing
> Specializing in transportation and travel subjects for more than
35 years.

> mailto:ehr@... Phone +1 (919) 401-9480 Fax 402-0721


> Web site: http://www.robl.w1.com "I'd rather be on the
train."
> Intermodal Container FAQ:
http://www.robl.w1.com/Transport/intermod.htm
>

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Jim Hargan

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Dec 28, 2006, 4:37:07 PM12/28/06
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IMHO, the negatives are just piles of plastic until someone organizes
them, ans Ernest says. This is a huge task. In brief, you need to
establish a physical, archival filing system with a computerized index.
The computerized index will tell you what file cabinet and folder to
look in for photos for a specific date, subject, location, person, etc.
You will also need a caption as part of the index -- a short, one-line
description that will make print-out lists meaningful. For images that
you intend to market, you will also need a keywords list; frankly, I
would put this off until I needed it.

In addition to Ernest's recommendations, take a look at Peter Krogh's
"The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers", from
O'Reilly. While Peter spends much time on digital-specific details, his
system works equally well for film assets.

HTH,

Jim Hargan
Images of North Carolina
nc.harganonline.com
www.harganonline.com



mzsupa5 wrote:
>
>
> Chatting to an old schoolmate at a party I discovered that he has just
> been given a huge collection (x00,000??, three pallet loads) of
> original negs dating from the sixties and seventies which were the
> pictures taken by staff photographers of an English regional newspaper.
> He is an illustrator/freelance writer/self publishing local historian
> with no background in photography but stepped in to save a historic
> asset that was on its way to the dump. He has acquired copyright of
> the pictures. The content of the archive is local news,personalities,
> sport, scenery and any national figures who strayed into the region
> within range of the paper's staff snappers. He is seeking funding to
> preserve the originals and is hoping to scan part of the collection.
> What is the likelihood of raising useful income by placing vintage
> images with an agency? any advice or pitfalls to avoid in dealing with
> this sort of material?
>
> Thanks
> Tony Collins
>

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mzsupa5

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Dec 28, 2006, 4:35:26 PM12/28/06
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Thanks All, I understand that the collection has been offered to
local library and county record offices but turned down.The local
University is not well endowed and it's possible that the archive
would fare better in private hands. The new "owner" is quite
experienced in publishing local history, there is a market for
nostalgic photo collections and he is quite able to provide text for
a whole package so some books could be the first use. I would hope
that the collection came with the necessary ID that the newspaper
filed it with. Such a large volume of material could easily become a
millstone and I hope that it can be managed in such a way as to be
self supporting with some full time staff. In the short term to
gauge demand for this material do you think that placing some
pictures with Alamy would be worth a try, or would another agency
specialising in vintage material be a better bet?

Thanks for the info on Al Weber. I will pass it on. Heres hoping
that this collection can survive.

Regards
Tony Collins

--- In STOCKPHOTO@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Shipman/Blue Planet

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