Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Archiving Digital Image Files

Archiving Digital Image Files
Tom Krepcio
2018 American Glass Guild Conference
Cleveland, OH
June 2018

Why Me?
I've been working with Computer Graphics in Stained Glass since 1993.
I created the blog Vitreosity (2004-present) and was the editor of AGGnews (2010-2015).
Since 1993, I have generated tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of digital image files to store and maintain. Many have been lost with changes in file formats, storage technologies, operating systems, etc.The working computer files for the years 1993-1999 are almost totally gone.

Defining the Digital Dark Age
Rapidly changing storage technologies + poor file management = more information could be lost than is created.

Changes in photographic recording and reproduction.
Since 1993, all levels of photography have transformed from film to digital.

Film Photography
Up to 36 images per roll of film
Outside processing along with extra cost for processing
Digital Photography
100-600 images of similar quality
Instant Use and no extra cost for processing or reproduction of digital files

Digital Photography Boom
Cameras in Smartphones
New ability for creating thousands of images instantly.
But what to do with them?
How to store and find them in the future?

Storage Format Changes

Storage Formats 1 - early and now obsolete
Floppy Disk 1.4 mb max
Syquest Disk 200 mb max
Zip Drive 500 mb max

Storage Formats 2
More reliable but cumbersome -
CD/DVD players are still available they often have to purchased as a separate peripheral device. CD-R - 700 mb max limit means many discs are needed, with difficulties in finding and keeping track of them.

Storage Formats 3
Flash Drive and SD Cards -
As recent and pervasive as flash drives are, even now the USB
connecting port is in the middle of changing from USB2 to USB3.

Storage Formats 4
External Hard Drive
Again, in transition. The external hard drive is changing from the spinning hard disk to the more reliable (supposedly) solid state drive. Currently the solid state drive holds less information and is more expensive, therefore it is out of reach to many.

Bottom Line  

With few exceptions, dont expect any physical storage device to be good for more than 10 years, and sometimes less.

Online Storage
Cloud Storage - Likely the Future, but Imperfect in the Present

Social Media is... NOT ARCHIVAL!!
  • Facebook 
  • Twitter 
  • Instagram 
  • Tumblr

Cloud for storage  - what works now and what doesn't.

Currently, most cloud services are too slow and too limited.
In my opinion, these are the best possibilities in the current time frame (August 2019)
(Mostly straight storage with some sharing and some social possible)
  • Dropbox
  • Flickr
  • Google Drive
  • iCloud

Cloud storage- Unresolved Issues
  • Speed - too slow at present
  • Cost - more expensive at present
  • Complexity - Who to choose for what specific purpose?
  • Do you need it for short term or long term storage? Do you need sharing functions?
  • Reliability - Knowing the cloud service will still be there 5-10-20 years down the line.
  • Privacy - How to be assured that your images and information are secure.


Part 2 -

Suggestions for the Here and Now

Archiving Digital Image Files
Suggested Procedure:
1) Decide which images are most important.
- Discard dupes, out-of-focus images, etc.
- Pick the images you feel are important.
- If there are multiple versions of an important photo, save the one with highest quality.

Discard Out of Focus and Unusable Photos ASAP

2) Organize the selected images into folders.
- Create a folder structure on your computer to put the images you picked.
- Name the folders in a manner in which you can search for them in the future.
 - TRY and establish a clear and consistent naming convention - for folders and files.

Try and put as much information in folder name without becoming cumbersome.

3) Give the files unique names (very important!).
- Give individual photos descriptive file names, or at least names by group.
      Suggested batch renamer (free trial, $20 for unlimited names) -

Before and after using thee program 'Renamer'.

4) If possible, record the files unique information.
    (a.k.a. Metadata)
- Tag photos with names of people and descriptive subjects.
- Write a brief description of the directory structure and the photos.
- Put a copy of the photo inventory with your important papers in a secure location.
- Note that most will not be able to do this, as it is VERY time consuming.

Old fashioned example of 'Metadata'.

5) Make copies and store them in different places.
- Make at least two copies of your selected photos—more copies are better.
- One copy can stay on your computer or laptop; put other copies on separate
    media such as DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives or Internet storage.
- Store copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If
    disaster strikes one location, your photographs in the other place should be safe.

6) Check and update periodically.
- Check your photos at least once a year to make sure you can read them.
- Create new media copies every five years or when necessary to avoid data loss.

Part 2 info adapted by Tom Krepcio (
from (no longer online)

Other links –
Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement 2018  - advanced info

update - long (3,500+ words) article about the loss of millions of music files from Myspace.
"What Myspace Lost" by Whitney Kimball 
August 21, 2019,
favorite part of the article, quoting The Internet Archive -  
“This is Facebook in a few years’ time. Don’t treat any of today’s popular services as a permanent archive. If Facebook thought that it could make more money out of you by throwing you in a garden shredder and turning you into fertiliser it would do so in half a heartbeat. They do not care about you or your stuff. Please keep local copies of your shit.”

Monday, June 18, 2018

Archiving Digital Image Files

I will be giving a talk at the 2018 American Glass Guild Conference in Cleveland OH. I'll be the last speaker of the conference, Sunday, June 24, 2018 at 3:40pm. The  topic will be "Archiving Digital files". Here is the description I gave them for the talk -

With the advent of digital photography, the sheer number of images produced is virtually exploding. Though these digital images are easy to copy and share, they are not easy to archive. Where and how to archive digital images has become of paramount importance to anyone who uses images to market their work, and even more to those who wish to document their work for future generations. I will discuss the dangers ahead as it relates to stained glass images both in new work and restoration. Some advice on how to handle digital images in the short term will be given.

The gist of the talk will be about the possible large loss of images in the name of having many more. Various storage choices and a general strategy of how to handle volumes of images will be presented.

In the meantime, a .jpg of the flyer I had on hand.

A work in progress...

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Temple Sholom Open House Chicago

Temple Sholom - Open House - Chicago, IL, Sunday, October 15, 2017

I first heard of the stained glass at Temple Sholom when I was helping organize the 2016 American Glass Guild Conference. Vic Rothman is a long standing member of the AGG and Vic recommended Temple Sholom as a site to be on a tour of contemporary stained glass in Chicago. Vic had worked on an unusual stained glass commission there and I was intrigued. Sadly, the tour never happened at the conference, but I'd held in back of my mind the idea of visiting the Temple since then.

On the weekend of October 14-15. 2017, there was an event called 'Open House Chicago', put on by the Chicago Architectural Foundation. One site at the event was Temple Sholom. It was the perfect introduction to the stained glass, as they had members of the temple thoughout the buildings with back stories about the building and the windows.

I have 124 images, mostly of the stained glass, on my VitreosityPictures Flickr Album.
Temple Sholom Open House Chicago 2017 

Highlights (click on any image to see larger size) -

Leon Golub and the Joseph Windows
These are the ones Vic worked on and they are pretty astonishing and unusual. Layered flashed glass.

The Rupture Between Joseph and his Brothers 
Golub was an especially political artist, with this being a typical image.
Leon Golub, “Interrogation III” (1981)
(image courtesy Serpentine Galleries, image © READS 2015 )
Quoting Golub himself:
I think of myself as a kind of reporter; I report on the nature of certain events. I think of art as a report on civilization at a certain time. It tells about the confidence of hierarchies, how hierarchy is expressed: who is included and who is not. 
signature - with credits!

- sidenote -
One surprise in seeing these windows is how so similar the technique is to my own multi-layer flashed glass windows, especially the Pink Angel panel, from the mid-90's, though on a much smaller scale. This layered glass is only about 3.5" x 5" big. 
Pink Angel with layers, Tom Krepcio, 1992

Corridors of Contemporary Stained Glass - 
The corridors of the Temple feature an ongoing survey of late 20th century stained glass.

Matriarch Windows
Miriam Shapiro

Matriarch Windows by Miraim Shapiro
Detail, Sarah Window
Karel Appel

Two Prophets and Three Scrolls
Nehemiah Azaz

The Book of Proverbs (with detail showing layering technique)

Jack Goldstein / The Greenland Studio, 1989
Article about Mel Greenland

Beit Chapel
unknown makers circa 1955
There are more conventional looking painted stained glass windows as well. These are two nice details from the Genesis window.

Even the doors have interesting stained glass -

Thanks to all at Temple Sholom for the wonderfully welcoming event.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Alice In Wonderland at 150

2015 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I originally made this blog post in 2007.

I saw a postcard of this Mad Hatter panel a few years ago and always suspected it was part of a larger program of panels. Indeed it is and the full Alice in Wonderland Window can be seen as part of the website for the church where it's located - All Saints Church in Daresbury, England.

SG photography by John Eastwood

It turns out that the Mad Hatter panel is in the center of 5 small 'Alice character' panels below a larger Nativity scene.


The window was created in 1935 to mark the 1932 centenary of the birth of Lewis Carroll and was created at All Saint's because it was the parish where Carroll was born (as Charles Dodgson). Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell are depicted in the leftmost lancet. The stained glass is by Geoffrey Webb, who was a student of Charles Eamer Kempe. Stylistically, especially as regards the nativity scene, that makes sense as Kempe tended toward this kind of color scheme featuring the starkly white figures with shots of color in the clothing and background. (Bio of Geoffrey Webb - scroll down about a quarter of the page)

The design for the all of the 'Alice in Wonderland" characters are, of course, based on the famous illustrations designed by John Tenniel. I thought it would be interesting to get a detailed look at how closely the original illustrations, designed by John Tenniel, were translated into stained glass.

Mostly pictures, with some written commentary - going left to right -

White Rabbit and Dodo Panel

The stained glass panel.

The original illustrations in full.

As expected, the stained glass figures have less cross hatching and feature more thick black lines. All the characters are surrounded by a fairly thick line of black. The translation to color is not jarring seeing that all the characters are on clear glass with accents in yellow silverstain. Keeping the characters all white against a dark color background gives more of the impression that the figures have stepped off the pages of the printed book. The yellow adds color which keeps them from looking too flat, yet the use of stain is subtle and doesn't overwhelm.

White Rabbit illustration and stained glass designs side by side

Dodo designs side by side

Lizard designs side by side

Caterpiller and Fish Footman Panel



This example shows how the SG designer will sometimes take an element in the illustrations and transform it to something more conventionally stained glass like. I refer to the hookah pipe in the stained glass which, compared to the illustration, curves in a much more symmetrical fashion, much more like a decorative knot pattern one might find in a stained glass window.

Fish Footman designs side by side

Throughout, the hands are proportionally larger in the stained glass figures and more clearly delineated. They are also, to my eye, more noticably 'human' hands. The hands are human in the prints as well, but the hands in the prints are smaller and sketchier, not calling attention to themselves as much. The Frog Footman is a good example.


The caterpillar is unique in that the SG designer sees fit to delineate a face where there was only a shadow in the original illustration.

Mad Hatter, Dormouse and March Hare Panel


The Mad Hatter is the one character whose design does not derive directly from any of the Tenniel illustrations. It's curious since the Mad Hatter is depicted five times in 'Alice in Wonderland', more than any other character save Alice herself.

The head of the March Hare is derived from the main tea party scene though the Hare's body is original to the stained glass. The dormouse is roughly taken from the main tea party scene, though again the SG designer makes the hands larger and curiously more realistic human-looking hands.


Duchess, Griffin and Mock Turtle Panel



Note that only the head of the Griffin is derived from the above illustration(reversed) while the design of the body and wings of the griffin is new to the stained glass and again are more 'stained glass like, note the symmetry. The wings, especially, look more like Kempe than Tenniel.

Duchess designs side by side

Mock Turtle designs side by side

Note the linework. Both are beautiful in their own way but they are different interpretations. Both are, in fact, translations of an original design by Tenniel.

Many assume the original illustrations are pen and ink drawings by Tenniel, but they aren't. In the printed version, the linework was interpreted by the wood engraver, in this case by the Dalziel Brothers. Tenniel drew in pencil on a whitewashed block of wood and the lines were created by carving out the areas of white and leaving the areas representing black lines raised on the wood block.

In the case of the stained glass, the linework was interpreted by painting black lines on glass with a brush. With a brush, there is a more curving line and a greater emphasis on thin to thick lines.

Knave and Queen of Hearts Panel


This is the only panel that features two full figures coming from the same illustration.

Queen of Hearts designs side by side

One thing that pops out to me is how the ornamentation on the clothing has changed from illustration to stained glass. The stained glass features heart designs on the clothing while the printed illustration does not.

Knave of Hearts designs side by side