Back Up and Archive

An old printed photo is often precious because it’s the only copy that exists. But the print might be in bad shape. If you have the photo’s negative, you may be able to make a new print—but what if the negative is no longer available? And if the prints and negatives are accidentally thrown away or damaged, that particular image is gone forever.

In the digital age, that type of scarcity isn’t as much of a problem. You can easily make hundreds of digital copies of a photo, transmit the image around the world with a click, or send the file to a drugstore and have inexpensive prints made.

And yet, digital photos suffer from a different type of scarcity: no matter how easily they can be reproduced, bits are fragile in a way that ...

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