Password protection of your digital media…a surefire plan for your media to die with you.

People password protect everything nowadays. Plus, they keep a lot of their stuff on the Cloud. A perennially popular topic that comes up on photo forums is asking what will happen to all those thousands of photos you taken over your life after you kick off?

Well, if you got negs, chromes and prints, there is a good chance the pickers will descend on your estate and disperse at an online auction site or swap meet. (I won’t mention the name as last time I did here on this blog I got banned for a short time…under suspect of being an advertiser.)

When it comes to pickers, we can be thankful to the pickers that recycle all this media. Some curators look down on them, the snobby ones. But I have no prejudice as to whether the time capsule material was bought from a picker or found in the trash.

Here is a nice 16mm Kodachrome home movie that a picker unloaded recently online. I could not buy it; it went for my than my budget could afford. So, all I could do was archive the screenshots. It had a beautiful, dreamy quality to it.

It is like the Indiana Jones movie where they said, if you bury something in the sand it becomes valuable. Same thing with snapshots, over time they become valuable as well. And same thing with your photos, videos and films you shoot…over time they become important pieces of the historical record.


I’m an old dinosaur from the 1970’s film era. I like optical media as a way of preserving my digital files. I use archival DVD’s and BD-R’s the same way a film photog used negs or chromes. And don’t be misled…there is very archival digital optical media out there.

But…you need to know your optical discs. Some of the optical media is garbage.

Recently I bought a collection of nice chromes for the Archive. $70 for 750 slides + $15 shipping. The photog that shot them had a giant body of work with thousands of slides and numerous 8mm and 16mm cine’ films being sold by the picker. I would have loved to buy the old 16mm train films, but they go for lots of coin and are out of my meager budget. But at least I did get a little something from his life’s work.

The proverbial moral of the story is:

In your case, if you are all digital, the best you can hope for (Unless you are something very special or have made prior arrangements.) is that your material (…computers, thumb drives, DVD, optical media, HDD, SDD, LTO tape) will end up in the hands of pickers so they can disperse your photo / film / video work far and wide. But if you got everything stored on the cloud or your ‘puter and phone and it is all password protected…then poof!

…good chance it all dies with you.


Now look at this guy below…


I used to follow him at the Large Format Forum. The filthy scum that runs the Large Format Forum has repeatedly banned me…over nothing. There used to be a guy named Ed Ross there. He was mightily beloved by the anal large format people.

(I call them anal because large format people are as anal as you can get. And the worst part is; the vast majority of them produce the most god-awful, boring sharp photos of nothing.)

One day, 5 years ago, Ed dies in a motorcycle accident. Did anyone of those anal large format bastards make an archive of Ross’s work??

From what I can see, not one did.

But the bigger question is; what happened to all of Ross’s wet plates and tintypes? Years after his death, nothing seems to have surfaced.

Now, if this be the case and nothing physical ever surfaces from Ross, then whatever digital material that was available online will be his body of work legacy. And if that be so, it is a case where the digital outlasted the physical.

Within my digital Ed Ross Collection there were a handful of Ross images that were very low res. To view them looked like a pixelated mess. So, I won’t show them, as I do not want to sign my name to shit or be associated with shit. (Everything online follows you. Don’t leave a trail of shit online to follow you.)

So, you keep this in mind with your own work. If all you put online is low res, watermarked shit and that is all that survives you…your legacy and contribution to the historical record…will be shit!


Selection from the USA tap water distillation tests.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Richmond, IN tap water.

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Small Gauge Film Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Advertising Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. VHS Video Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Audio Archive
Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Social Documentary Photography

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