Everyone seems to agree that consumers need to do a better job of securing their photos. And everyone knows that hoary business cliché that every crisis (and the lack of preservation is seen as something of a mini-crisis) is an opportunity.
But retailers have largely missed the boat on this present day crisis/opportunity, said Lisa Walker, president of the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A). “They have a direct relationship with their customers and they haven’t stepped up to the plate to be their storage service.”
Walker’s association is a strong advocate for photo preservation. They run www.savemymemories.org which offers consumers advice on the pros and cons of various storage methods (flash memory, print, hard disc, etc.). The site is vendor agnostic and the message, Walker said, is simple: “do something.”
There is still a considerable amount of consumer education to do, Walker admits.
While the industry has a very good idea how long photo prints last, there is still a good deal of uncertainty around how long other formats — optical discs, hard drives, flash memory — will endure. Walker said the I3A was working with OSTA to establish archival standards that would allow consumers to know which discs are best for long-term image preservation. The firm is also working to determine an archival standard for the ever-popular photo book.