In today’s digital world, many people believe that storing images on hard drives, CD’s and through other electronic media solves your archival concerns. Unfortunately, this is not so!!! CDr and DVDr media can degrade over time and are sensitive to such mundane things as exposure to UV light, minor scratches and plain old obsolescence. Hard drives, as we all know, can crash without warning. Some photographers use photo or cloud data storage companies, and while these options may be among the best available, what happens if these operations go out of business and take your images with them?
A hard copy print can always be scanned, even long after the technology available to read your stack of CD’s or DVD’s has gone the way of the 8-track tape. But, be aware that many home inkjet and dye sublimation printers may not provide the archival quality necessary for long term storage. Some start to deteriorate in as little as six months! You also need to consider the costs of making your own prints. Without counting the initial cost of the printer, but adding up only the cost of ink and paper, even basic 4×6 prints made on typical inkjet printers can cost as much as $ .50 ea or more, plus your time. With economical professional printing and proper handling your photographs will last for decades and help secure your personal and professional photo history.
Even with all the advances in this high-tech world, the best method for preserving your images is to make a photographic print on high quality paper, either through the RA-4 print process or a certified archival inkjet printer. Prints like those made on our Fuji Professional Crystal Archive photo paper have been vigorously tested by the specialists at Wilhelm Imaging Research and produced impressive ratings in accelerated aging tests ranging from 60 – 100 years, depending on display and storage conditions.
Written by Fran Smith