A glimpse under a mountain at the world’s largest photo archive

by Liam McCabe

posted Friday, May 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM EDT


Think that your cloud backup, off-site hard copies, and RAID setup will keep your photo collection safe? Well, probably. But some folks go to more extreme measures to preserve their archives.

Underground, a 16-minute documentary by the Carnegie Museum of Art, takes a look at the Bettman Archive, owned by Corbis Images. It’s a collection of more than 11 million photos, housed in a climate-controlled environment under a mountain in Pennsylvania.

Sometimes, orders come in for digital versions of those photos, and workers carefully scan the shots and clean them up in Photoshop to correct for scratches, dust, and fingerprints. Otherwise, the photos just sit there, and will sit there, un-degraded for more than 1,000 times as long as they would in a typical storage environment.


This is a fascinating clip, not only for the look at the giant, frigid underground bunker where old photos will live, but also to hear perspectives on media, longevity, and art from the folks who work there.

(Via PopPhoto)