Dreams of the Zen Archive
by Steve Simon
I think most of us agree: digital photography is where we need it to be, and it's getting better. Issues of quality, speed, storage, ease of use and affordability are all working. And now Aperture fills in the one missing link in my workflow. With this new version, I have a tool that can manage my entire photographic life, from ingest to archive to print and publish.
For whatever the reason or excuse, I have resisted using a cataloging software until now. Lucky for me, Aperture has come along to put my image affairs in order. Like many busy photographers, cataloging and archiving was something I knew I would confront sometime soon, but the task seemed overwhelming. So in the meantime, I have kept a simple system of storing files in a logical hierarchy of folders I could access. But my system has holes and there is a lot of redundancy in my archive. Aperture is about to fix all that.
Now that I've been using Aperture and loving it, coupled with the fact that in 1.5.1--the Aperture library can access my images from a variety of sources; (and in his last post, Ben Long has assured us that there is no down side to embracing Aperture; nothing to be afraid of) I'm planning the transfer of my entire archive on several hard drives as referenced files into Aperture, which will serve as the electronic brain for my warehouse of imagery. I'm really excited about this and I'm formulating archiving strategies.
BIG PICTURE ARCHIVE STRATEGIES
In the big picture, my work is divided into two distinct categories, Commercial and Personal Projects. In planning my import strategies, I am trying to jump ahead and see what my archive will look like in the future. All I know for sure is: it's going to get much bigger.
So I'm planning a computer house cleaning to rid myself of redundancy before I take the forklift to my thousands of photographs and bring them into the Aperture warehouse. I expect this "purging all duplicate and unnecessary data" process to be liberating-- and once things are organized and imported into Aperture, I pledge to keep my archive clean and neat, clutter free and backed up religiously. Really.
Because my operating system drive is only 160gbs, I will choose to reference my Aperture files to larger external firewire drives but maybe keep one smaller Retrospective Project with only 5-Star images in the library itself. My plan is to keep my master images on two separate drives for now, one for commercial work and the other for my personal projects. This will be backed up to one larger off-site drive.
Of course, once files are safely within Aperture, I can move them around, but there's a lot to be said for organizing everything right from the start.
I was curious what strategies you have employed to keep and maintain your ever-growing archive of images in Aperture. Do you keep everything you shoot or are you selective on import? Where do you store things? How do CDs and DVDs fit into your archiving plan? By seeing how others are doing things, I'm thinking we can find easier and more efficient ways to work with our own growing storehouse of visuals; and plan for a future body of work that will only grow bigger and better.
A new book: Heroines & Heroes: Hope, HIV and Africa by Steve Simon
(Designed in Aperture)
I'm not totally sold on Aperture just yet.
I *do* "keep everything," but in the manner of keeping the entire roll of negatives or box of slides. I roll them off onto DVDs.
You and I are in very much the same position re. our Aperture libraries, so I'm keenly interested in the feedback you get, and on how you decide to proceed.
External harddrive memory is gettin so cheap today I can't justify burning CD's and DVD's for back-ups. I realized within the first week of using Aperture that my iMac HD was not the place to store the Masters. I moved it to a 1TB Maxtor Turbo and then bought a second one for "The Vault ". I have $1,100.00 in my Lbrary and Archive system ( roughly $1.00 per GB ). My shooting volume will fill this system up in about 2-3 years. Think of the tme we sit around and wait for 8x or 16x CD burns or even longer waits for DVD's. I'm told that harddrive memory is going to grow exponentially in the near term. An Apple Engineer told me recently that sometime next year harddrive capacity will expand 7-8 fold. Another technology involved is" Solid State " memory. I think they mean Flash memory but I'm not positive.
Not real sure about the architecture of relating "processed images" back to a Aperture held Master that was done some time ago but I would gamble that it can be done. I know when using Photoshop for my editing all I have to do is "Save" the edit and it gues back into Aperture as a Version. Surely previously processed images with other Apps can be related back to to originals in Aperture.
The editing functions of Aperture are very good. Patch and Stamp tool took a little getting used to and I have sent Apple feedback asking for a dodge and burn tool.
I can't wait to see future generations of this app.
|Why not use the Stack feature to relate previously processed versions?|
|Jim, I plan to go through my existing archive, a little at a time to weed out those versions of files that I won't keep. I have a Western Digital 1TB drive, where I'm starting to copy the trimmed down archive for later import into Aperture (I wish I had known how loud the fan was on this thing before I bought it-it sounds like a hair-dryer) Going forward with Aperture, I expect the problem of rudundency to be all but eliminated.|
I'm only an amateur coming from iPhoto ...