Someone more expert on photography than I makes this observation:
Stephen Bulger, who runs the Stephen Bulger Gallery in downtown Toronto, says photos that we hate today might become prized possessions in 20 years. "What's happened over and over again is that people using analogue (film and paper), invariably there's something that causes them to go back to a particular roll of film they shot and somewhere on that contact sheet there's a photograph that didn't strike them as being very significant until well after the photograph was taken," said Bulger. Had those photos been on CD, the quality would have deteriorated significantly to the point of being unreadable. "CDs don't last forever," Bulger warns. "It won't last as long as film will last."So next time someone says to you, "Take a picture. It lasts longer!" you can reply, it ain't necessarily so.
Update: Here's an item from BoingBoing that cites a Library of Congress report about the loss of culture that is occurring from the future unavailability of our sound recordings. From the article:
Evidence uncovered in this analysis suggests that a significant portion of historic recordings is not easily accessible to scholars, students, and the general public for noncommercial purposes. There are many reasons for this, but the primary one appears to be a convergence of two factors. The first is that the physical barriers created by recording technologies change often and have rendered most such recordings accessible only through obsolescent technologies usually found only in special institutions. Second, copyright law allows only rights holders to make these recordings accessible in current technologies, yet the rights holders appear to have few real-world commercial incentives to reissue many of their most significant recordings. The law has severely reduced the possibility of such recordings entering into the public domain, at least until 2067.
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