Archive Photography is a photographic specialty where the photographer creates an index that allows him to organize the Archive in such a way that any photograph or series of photographs can be found in a matter of seconds.
Photo indexing is a subject to which I have devoted a lot of time, a tireless and necessary dedication. The file grows all the time, and it becomes relentless if the photographer doesn’t grow with it. Every strip of film you develop, every memory card you download onto your computer must be properly and rigorously indexed before any other work begins.
This obsessive pursuit of workflow led me to create my own software on a database platform, I put in hours and hours of programming, struggling with the guilt of taking those hours out of the photo shoot. Suddenly Adobe announced a program whose function was exactly what I was doing. Will Adobe do better than me? It’s very likely. So I started testing the beta version which completely captured my attention. I dropped my schedule and entered the sweet illusion of having found my perfect workflow. Lightroom was the pleasure of organizing and managing the Archive.
But something unforeseen happened. What a blunder! Trust a multinational whose main objective is to make money.
When I tested Lightroom’s features, I fell under the spell and remorselessly abandoned my self-sufficient task.
Lightroom was perfect, I had full control of my file, I just had to index all the images with keywords and select Galleries of the best photographs. I used all the updates and upgrades, always punctually downloaded, until Adobe showed its mercenary face and declared to the photographers: soon you will no longer be the owners of the software, you can rent as much as you want for a modest monthly fee. Modest only to swallow the frog, later, when the multinational has its users trapped by the neck, there it will be able to manipulate it to its pleasure. Many photographers were so dependent on Adobe’s system that they even ignored the imposition, others kicked their asses without achieving anything.
Others, including myself, dropped the bone without more sustenance and ran to find alternatives.
It was difficult and I confess that, out of extreme rebellion, I lost control of the archive, but I was so committed to freeing myself from the slavery created by Adobe that I started to study, test and rebuild my workflow on new bases.
I tested dozens of programs… but let’s get right to the point.
The application that manages my file today is Photo Mechanic. It doesn’t process RAW like Lightroom, but it did teach me how to manage the text information (captions and other metadata) within the image itself. Everything is easier, lighter and more efficient that I don’t miss the old, beloved and perverse Lightroom at all. All metadata is written, read and modified within the image itself, so if I ever want to change applications I’ll take all my indexing with me, inside the photo. I process the RAW with Affinity Photo, a gem that leaves archaic, heavy, salty photoshop in the dust.
As soon as possible I will do a more detailed article about the new workflow.
After Hurricane Adobe, the hard lesson was digested, processed and used as a springboard to something more daring. The new Archive is public, available and, most importantly, gives the end user the ability to find specific images within seconds. The new file contains 5,000 images selected out of a total of 100,000. I also hope that this can make life easier for new photographers.