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Photo Archiving: OWC Helps Preserve 120,000 Iconic Images of Rock History

“Henry Diltz is one of the most famous rock photographers,” says Brian Vincik, General Manager, Securematics located in Carlsbad, CA. “He caught the essence of the moment, the people, the times.”

Vinick led the effort to scan and preserve photographs cataloging the history of rock. From the famous image of Jimi Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock to the Mamas and the Papas to the Rolling Stones, Henry Diltz hung out with rock stars before they were legends and just “framed up moments.”

Henry’s documentary approach to the effervescent moments between the big performances mark him out as an extraordinary photographer. His style was rooted in his friendships with musicians, life on the road, and his easy-going ’60s attitude. 


A unique approach to photography.

Rock Photographer, Henry Diltz
Rock Photographer, Henry Diltz

Diltz came to photography by happen-stance. While in a thrift shop, he picked up a $20 camera and a roll of film along the way. Although he shot some iconic images of the performers on stage, it’s the “everyday” images that really stand out. Henry describes his process of just hanging out like a “tiger” and grabbing a snap here and grabbing another there. Framing someone solo, then with a friend. Maybe getting the band out of L.A. and up to Joshua Tree for some snaps in the desert. He was a musician, and these were his friends. And that relaxed vibe permeates his photography with an arresting intimacy.

The byproduct of his eye through the lens speaks for itself. OWC and Vincik teamed up to preserve this priceless library of rock history so that future generations could catch a glimpse through the eyes of Henry Diltz.


The challenges.

Capturing these classic images in a format that would stand the test of time stood as the goal for the Henry Diltz scanning project. The challenges on a project of this scale are enormous. Film scanning is a time-intensive and storage-intensive challenge. Larry O’Connor, CEO of OWC, remarked that the “opportunity to get involved and digitize this stuff is priceless.” 

Vincik points out that when you pick out a drive, you have to have the right support from the manufacturer. He says, “it’s a very, very important component” when you do a project like this. In fact, Larry was there from the beginning. 

OWC Jupiter Callisto Ethernet Connected Shared Storage Server
OWC Jupiter Callisto Ethernet Connected Shared Storage Server

The CEO of OWC flew down to take a look at the project. He remarked, “this is insane.”  Larry saw the “piles and piles” of slides and negatives. To tackle the challenge, Securematics relied on the OWC Jupiter NAS (Network Attached Storage). Brian single-handedly operated 10-12 iMacs provided by OWC along with docks. These machines connected to professional high-resolution Powerslide X scanners. All those computers were connected to the Jupiter NAS downstairs. This allowed for simultaneous scanning and real-time storage right to the Jupiter.


What if something went wrong? 

OWC Jupiter mini

When Securematcis set out to preserve these moments, they knew they needed a solution that could be resilient enough if something went wrong. The Jupiter NAS demonstrates its professional quality chops when it comes to things like the 2+1 redundant power supplies. Its speed ensured that Brian could keep feeding images of Paul and Linda McCartney, David Crosby, and the Doors in the scanners without stopping.  

And if there was ever a problem at the main location, the team deployed a backup remote copy of the work in Henry Dilitz’s studio with a more compact version of the Jupiter.

All-in-all, OWC deployed a robust, archive quality, redundant and disaster-proof plan to preserve these stunning images. Thankfully, technical snags were avoided, and the gear came through with flying colors.


Mission complete.

OWC + Henry Diltz - photo with Paul McCartney and John Lennon

Over those six months, over 120,000 images made a journey from Diltz home archive to Securematics and back again. “All those elements will never ever be recreated,” notes Vincik. He went on to say that “the task was almost nearly impossible, but we pulled it off, and we couldn’t have done the project without OWC. They are rockstars in their own right.”


Listen to the Henry Diltz interview on OWC RADiO

Henry Diltz woodstock photographer morrison hotel



Reuben Evans
the authorReuben Evans
Reuben Evans is an award-winning screenwriter, Executive Producer at Faithlife Films/Faithlife TV, and a member of the Producers Guild of America. He has produced and directed numerous documentaries and commercials. RED Cameras, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve are his tools of choice. Reuben has written for such sites as The Frame.io Insider and is part of the Blade Ronner Media writers network.
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3 Comments

  • Great story and an extremely valuable project.

    Might I ask what software was used with the scanners and what settings were used for the scans?

    Thanks!

      • Thanks for the reply. I have Powerslide scanner and thus the reason for my question. There are a number of projects I have used it for, but I was wondering what I might learn about better scanning options and setting from someone who obviously has lots of experience. 120,000 scans!