When I set up a darkroom in 1968 and started developing my own film and making my own analog prints my management of the images was pretty simple: (1) develop the negatives, (2) make a proof print of the roll and put it in a ring binder, (3) put the negatives in Negafile envelopes and put them in a file cabinet. When I wanted to print one of the pictures I would (4) find the proof print, roll and individual frame in the ring binder, (5) use the index number on the proof print to find the negative in the file cabinet and (6) make the print in my darkroom. In hindsight, this approach, used by pretty much every serious amateur I knew could have been called Analog Asset Management (AAM).
When I bought a “serious” digital camera in 2008 I bought a copy of Lightroom and was introduced to the world of Digital Asset Management (DAM). Lightroom remains a popular DAM tool today, but there are many alternatives with varying degrees of sophistication and complication.
When I decided I’d had enough of digital cameras and returned to film in 2010 I merged my old AAM approach with my newer DAM file system by individually scanning every frame of every roll, importing the files into Lightroom, and using LR’s catalog in place of my old ring binders. The negatives were now in PrintFile envelopes and boxes. For the purpose of this blog entry I’ll call this approach Hybrid Asset Management (HAM).
But recently, a series of mishaps, some caused by Mac hardware, some caused by Adobe software, but most caused by human error (mine) have made me long for the good old days of Analog Asset Management.
Which brings me to the Retro Asset Management (RAM) approach I use today. What I do is (1) individually scan every frame of every roll to produce both a JPG file and a RAW file, (2) use ContactPage Pro to generate and print a proof page from the JPG files and put it in a ring binder and (3) put the negatives in PrintFile pages in another ring binder. When I want to print one of the pictures I (4) find the roll and individual frame in the proof page binder, (5) use the index number on the proof page to find the RAW file on the computer, and (6) use Affinity Photo to develop the file and Epson Print Layout to make the print.
I delete the JPG files after I make the proof page. I keep the RAW files as a backup if anything bad should happen to the negatives, but I don’t kid myself that anyone in the future will ever find these files or know what to do with them if they did. This realization was one of the reasons I abandoned digital photography for pictures I care about.