Episode 170 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / The Next Step

The Next Step

The second step is to label and organize your images. It is not enough to keep them all in digital format. In fact it is dangerous. More and more we rely on web storage like Google or Flickr, but it is unreliable for a few reasons. The main reason is that when you stop paying storage fees on most sites, your images will disappear. Also, no one knows when an online business can go bust, also resulting in lost images, forever. Maybe you are thinking you can store them on your own hard drive? Hard drives are built to fail. Any hardware supplier will tell you this. It is not a question of if your hard drive will fail, it is a matter of when. For people who must store data on hard drives, you must duplicate excessively. For example, I know an audiophile who has thousands of hours of music as well as video, all in a digital format. What he does, knowing his big expensive multiterabyte drives will fail one day, is to make more than one copy. That means the contents of one giant drive are duplicated on not one, but two more drives. He also burns DVDs of everything, which is another medium that has a short life expectancy. DVDs may last one hundred years, but right now, no one knows, and it’s safe to say they are not safe! As we know, one scratch and the material is gone.

The Answer Is to Use Hard Prints of Your Images When Possible

The third step is to get a filing cabinet that is fireproof. Put it in your apartment or storage unit. Use file folders that are acid-free and, starting with the current year, make a folder for each month. In the folder, put images of your work, printed out in as nice a format as you can afford. At the least print out documentation of your work on 8 x 10 photo paper from your inkjet printer. On the back of each print, make a label that has the following information on it: the title of the work, the date it was completed, where it was completed, the size, where it is located or stored, and any other notes you want to add. If that seems like too much information for a label, then on the label, make a reference to a separate document that has all the information and notes. That separate document is a letter-size piece of paper that is also in the folder and is typed neatly with your name and address on it, as well as a note saying this is referenced from a folder of a certain date and day. If you have too many images or material for one month, then make a second folder for that month and put a section in your file cabinet for that month. Start with the current month so you don’t get overwhelmed and move forward from there.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


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