10 tips for Archives by Mary Engel
Don’t scan everything, and scan at the right sizes
Transparency, know why you are doing what you are doing
If you make limited editions, keep excellent records
De-clutter, only keep what is related to the archive, don’t start other collections
Keep up with Social media, websites, and Instagram is essential
Review your copyrights and make sure you know the dates for the signature images
Participate in group shows, auctions, and donate to museums and charities
Know what you have, but it might never be 100% of everything, even 75-80% is ok too
Do the best you can, that is all the photographer would have expected
Remember that anything you are accomplishing is wonderful, and keep the work out there!!!
Mary Engel’s 10 TIPS to prepare your archive
1. Think about what type of person who you might leave your work to, and or a possible executor to make sure they have a sense of your philosophy. It is helpful if the person is organized, knows something about the photography industry, and knows how to get things done.
2. Leave a list of what you want to happen with your archive and what kind of institutions you would like it to end up at, include realistic possibilities. Such as local institutions or colleges you might have attended or have a connection with.
3. Make a list of your top 100 photos, so it is clear what the most important images were to you.
4. Make it clear how your archive is set up. Leave general inventories, lists and databases of what you have and where everything is located.
5. Make recordings or notes about certain photos or important jobs to record memories, dates and anything else that might be important for archivists or scholars to know in the future.
6. Leave a list of friends, dealers or other photography experts in the industry you trust, who knew you and know your work who might be willing to assist the archive.
7. Don’t leave everything that is in your files now, especially financial info, such as tax returns or backup on every job. Only relevant information is necessary.
8. Declutter now, don’t leave everything you have shot for the past 40 -50 years. Think long and hard about what you are leaving behind. If you have lots of things not connected to your archive, ie: books, collectibles, cameras, don’t leave it all. Keep a small amount of each.
9. Sign all existing prints, not just for commercial reasons, but to prove provenance.
10. Make sure you have a will, and that the archive is kept together as a whole. This is important so family members aren’t competing against one another to sell the work. Consider including copyright in your will.
WONDERFUL TRIP TO THE RICHARD AVEDON FOUNDATION
James Martin, Executive Director of the Richard Avedon Foundation took 35 APAG members on a tour of the foundation. He also showed us a select box of various prints and negatives so we could see some examples of what is stored at the archive. It was a memorable afternoon for all!
All photos below copyright Grayson Dantzic
FIELD TRIP TO THE MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
Sean Corcoran, the Curator of Prints and Photographs invited us to visit the museum and gave a wonderful talk and tour of the archives holdings. He shared a lot of valuable information, and took us into the cold vault. The first room stores prints is 60 degrees, and the second room that holds negatives is 40 degrees. Needless to say, we were only in there for a few moments.
All black and white photos copyright Grayson Dantzic / bottom color images copyright George Malave
APAG IS AN EXHIBITOR AT AIPAD SHOW AT PIER 94 – April 2017
The AIPAD show moved to Pier 94 this year, and expanded the list of exhibitors which means we were able to have a table in the book section. It went very well, and we met many people who were interested in APAG, and were able to promote our new handbook. The Photo Archive Handbook: What You Need to Know!
Photos copyright: Grayson Dantzic, top three rows / Mary Engel, bottom three rows
APAG TRIP TO THE GORDON PARKS FOUNDATION – July 2016
Wonderful trip to the Gordon Parks Foundation in Pleasantville, NY. We were led on a great behind the scenes tour by Assistant Director, Amanda Smith. Thanks also to Executive Director, Peter Kunhardt for the invitation! We were all inspired by the organization of the archive, and can see the passion that the foundation has to continue to promote Gordon’s wonderful work! Stop by if you are in the area to see the Muhammad Ali Exhibition. www.gordonparksfoundation.org.
All black and white photographs by Grayson Dantzic. All color (except for group shot) by Mary Engel.
APAG FIELD TRIP TO MANA CONTEMPORARY – January 2016
Wonderful bus trip to Mana Contemporary in Jersey City with 25 APAG members on 1/22/16. Sponsored by ICP and Executive Director Mark Lubell. Catherine Sippin, the Assistant Director of Mana gave us a history of Mana and took us on a tour through the building to the Anthony Quinn collection, the Richard Meier Model Museum and several other organizations.
The second part of the tour focused on ICP. Curator Christopher Phillips showed us the ICP exhibition space, Chris George told us about the scanning process, and Mark Lubell gave us a tour of the entire ICP Archives. Mark discussed his future plans and development for the archives and the ICP space at Mana.
All photos below – Copyright Grayson Dantzic
Archive Articles from the ASMP Newsletter, The Literate Lens and Photo District News.
Interview with Mary Engel in The Literate Lens by Sarah Coleman
Article in Photo District News April 2015 – Planning Now for Your Archive’s Future
Photo District News published an article in its April 2015 issue about archival planning, organization, appraisal, and digitization, including some advice and several quotes from Mary Engel. Read the comprehensive article on PDN’s website, or pick up a print copy of the magazine. The article is also scanned below.
Article in ASMP Magazine by Mary Engel – What To Do With All of the Photographs?
The responsibility of handling a photographer’s archive is huge. It is a big decision for someone to become responsible for an artist’s life work, and it is extremely important to understand how much is really involved in the business end of this type of endeavor. Many issues aren’t necessarily evident in the beginning but become apparent over time.
INHERITING MY MOTHER’S PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE
I inherited my mother, photographer Ruth Orkin’s, archive when I was just out of college. There has been a great satisfaction for me in keeping her name in the public eye, and having people continue to see and appreciate her work; however, managing all the details involved comes with a lot of work. Even with someone like my mother—who achieved recognition during her lifetime with numerous awards, exhibitions, books and an internationally known image, American Girl in Italy, to her credit—a lot of constant promotion still needs to be done to make the archive viable.
Read/see the full article here » (PDF format)
You Tube Channel
Visit our YouTube channel for clips and recorded panels from past seminars and workshops on current issues and best practices in photography archives.
Archive as Project Conference in Poland attended by Grayson Dantzic
Warsaw, Poland, May 2010: Grayson Dantzic, (APAG Executive Vice-President) attended the conference, and gave a presentation titled: Archiving as a Metaphor for Life: A Slideshow.
Please see attached pages from the conference book. It also includes an essay by Krzysztof Pjarski titled: The Archive as project – The Poetics and Politics of the (photo) Archive.
Read/see the full article here » (PDF format)
Past Speakers at APAG
Kenneth Falcon /attorney
Pascal Prince /custom printer
Tom Gitterman / Gitterman Gallery
Joseph T. Baio / Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP
What Are We Going to Do with All These Photographs?
Estate and Other Issues with a Photographer’s Archive, October 2008
Held at the Howard Greenberg Gallery
The panel was moderated by Mary Engel, daughter of Ruth Orkin and Morris Engel and founder of APAG. The panelists included Denise Bethel, Senior Vice President and Head of Photography, Sotheby’s; Howard Greenberg, owner and founder of the Howard Greenberg Gallery ; Richard Halperin, co-author of the Art Law Handbook and estate planning attorney with McLaughlin & Stern; Marc Jacobson, copyright attorney; Edward Yee, Appraiser, Penelope Dixon & Associates; and Jeff Rosenheim, Curator of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Panel, left to right: Ed Yee, Penelope Dixon and Associates, Howard Greenberg, Howard Greenberg Galley, Jeff Rosenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mary Engel, Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive, Marc Jacobson, attorney, Denise Bethel, Sothebys.