Preserving Memories in a Photographic Archive

View of the underground Bettmann Archive with white walls and a sign that says underground art

This post is about The Bettmann Archive, the world-famous photographic archive where I worked for 18 years. My time there (and later when it became Corbis Images) inspired me to start my photo organizing business, Past Present Pix in 2016.

In 2004, the archive moved from our Manhattan office to Iron Mountain, a state-of-the-art underground storage facility in PA. It was a bittersweet moment for me and my colleagues – we were quite attached to the physical collection, although millions of the most popular print photos had been digitized by then.

I knew the move was for the best – the Archive is a national treasure, and preserving the 11 million+ images was paramount (which is why I advocate keeping your originals!) But it was hard to see it leave our office.

Sadly, the public will only ever see a fraction of the Bettmann Archive images. But this recent, excellent and in-depth article touches on many of the archival practices I learned while working there. Plus, it’s a fascinating read!

We treat our clients’ collections with the same care used with the original print media at The Bettmann Archive. Family collections deserve the same level of respect. I’m happy to discuss providing your photographic archive with the same care – and no underground storage needed!