The Hackers Who Recovered NASA’s Lost Lunar photos

First View of Earth from Moon - reprocessed

Wired has an article on The Hackers Who Recovered NASA’s Lost Lunar Photos :

[…] After the low-fi printing, the tapes were shoved into boxes and forgotten.

They changed hands several times over the years, almost getting tossed out before landing in storage in Moorpark, California. Several abortive attempts were made to recover data from the tapes, which were well kept, […]

Read it all, the effort is amazing. It doesn’t matter how you keep the medium, if you can re-read it or decode it, it is useless.

This is a shape of things to come. What will happen to all of those digital archives? These CD or DVD that will be unreadable because we no longer have the drives, or just decayed, these hard drives with obsolete connectors, which, if they ever start, might still hard to use in a few decades. And then what do we do with these RAW files that the camera vendor refuse to document?

These are all the questions we should remember to ask. The next Vivian Maier might never happen in the era of digital as we might unable to recover the content of the shoe box. Not everybody will have the skills of that team that recovered the NASA photos.

Kodak DCS

The Kodak DCS is Kodak 1991 Digital SLR based on a Nikon F3. Kodak was pioneer in the area and Nikonweb interview James McGarvey who designed these.

Six models were priced from $20,000 to $25,000. A total of 987 units were sold from 1991 to 1994.

But:

Many people in Kodak were reluctant. Some of top management tried to stop our business, but some wisdom prevailed and they did not succeed.

That’s right, they were scared to disrupt their own business. But it got disrupted by the competition and now we see were Kodak is: between the rock and the hard place.

Kodachrome 2010

A small documentary “Kodachrome 2010” by Xander Robin, with an interview of Dwayne’s Photo lab manager and how it came to an end.

The video was taken down on YouTube due to a copyright claim.

Robert Cohen found his last roll of Kodachrome and went to the Missouri fair to shoot it ; then drove down to Dwayne’s to get it processed, anxiously waiting to see if the film had any picture on it.

My biggest regret is to not have shot Kodachrome more often. I think that the 3 weeks turn around in France was part of what turned me off.

Polaroid, something that was impossible

Technologizer relate the story of the Polaroid’s SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible:

Most important, unlike any other Polaroid, the SX-70 asked the photographer to do nothing more than focus, press the shutter, and pluck the snapshot as it emerged from the camera–and then watch it develop in daylight. It was the first camera to realize what Edwin Land said had been his dream all along: “absolute one-step photography.”

This was in 1972 and it was a landmark towards the true instant photography. Long before digital.