Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

The Curse of Double Prints Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

23 May 2024

In the era of the One Hour Photo, double prints were a standard offer. Jumbo double prints, in fact. Two sets of 4x6 prints of every negative on your roll of film.

Family Albums. Out of the closet at last.

This was a great convenience. You kept one set and gave the other set away. You looked like a big spender. A generous big spender.

If you were particularly generous, you might even have delivered that second set in a little 4x6 album with two-sided pages that held the prints inside a clear plastic window on each side.

With four children starting their own families, our parents had lots of these little bundles of joy. Each son would send the second set of prints to their grandparents to keep in touch long before smartphones, Google Photos, Apple Photos or any sharing service existed.

Archivists are loathe to throw anything out.

Then one day the music stops and the family archivist unlocks the front door of the empty house to survey the collection. And what does he find?

Gazillions of duplicates.

Albums that, in short, he knows have a companion set of prints in the same universe, on the same planet, in the same state.

So what does he do?

Archivists are loathe to throw anything out. It goes against their grain, limiting the reach of their business. They say, instead, "I'll look over this later. For now, I'll just inventory everything."

But "later," especially for family archivists, is never long enough to catalog and archive whatever has been inventoried. Archivists, after all, grow old and die, too. They only have a few minutes to look things over. Relatively speaking.

So this family archivist has decided to return the double print albums to the originating family (almost wrote "offender"). They can do a double take of their own before discarding them.

Boxes. On to the Photo Morgue. But, yes, it seems they are more of them than in the above photo.

Not that this strategy alone resolves the problem of duplicates for the archivist.

Because the family home doesn't just have Mom and Dad's photos. It has the photos they salvaged from their parents. Who also salvaged photos from their parents. None of whom, it bears pointing out, have shipping addresses.

There are duplicates of duplicates of priceless family photos. Some of them in those overbearing oak frames popular in the 1970s. Which conscientious archivists can't bear to stack even in the "Frames Only" box.

In cases like these, the family archivist is well advised to inventory the liquor collection in the hopes of finding an unopened bottle of B&B.

Two shots and you'll be seeing double double prints in the morning.

BackBack to Photo Corners