"VueScan helps keep alive the history of our country"
Scanning thousands of negatives and glass plates, David Phillips uses industry-leading product VueScan to ensure survival of photographic history.
David R. Phillips has been a photographer since the age of twelve. His first
experience with photos was taking snaps of the school swimming team and
selling them for 50c each. He was chief photographer for Monsanto Chemical
company, and has been freelance since 1963. He has photographed all over
the world for all of the top publications, including Life and Time.
Over a 40 year period he has assembled The David R. Phillips Collection which
includes vintage prints and archival fiber silver prints made from original
negatives of his own work, and also a wide range of images from some of the
finest photographers depicting life in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The need for scanning
When looking at his own family history, David realised how there was a real
possibility that history could disappear unless steps were taken to preserve
images, and it spurred him on to start scanning his own negatives. To date,
David has scanned over 100,000 glass plate negatives.
In addition to personal use, David specialises in scanning for work purposes.
He uses an Apple Mac G5 and 3 Apple iMac computers with the following scanners:
- 4 x Epson 700
- 2 x Epson 1680
- 4 x Epson 2200
- 1 x Umax 1280
- 2 x Nikon 4000
- 2 x Nikon 9600
David works on a wide variety of projects. Current work includes World War II b&w
pictures from the 35mm originals, unseen photographs from Pearl Harbour and
pictures taken from the late 1890’s in China and Japan. There are also 1600
negatives from the 1933 World Fair in Chicago, and hundreds of negatives from
the Colombian Exposition in 1893. On a different note, David is working on
stills taken from the film ‘From Here to Eternity’. There are hundreds of unseen
shots, and David is scanning these overnight using the batch scanning facility.
David carries out this work for private commission or to sell to museums or
When dealing with such old material, the quality can be very bad. Although the
advanced features of VueScan help a lot, David has 6 film recorders and sometimes
has to retouch the originals off the scanner and make new negatives or
transparencies to scan.
How VueScan helps
The advanced features of VueScan makes David’s work a lot easier. The detailed
choices in the Tools command gives him the power and flexibility that he needs
when dealing with such a disparate subject.
David says “I think of VueScan as a working little soldier. Quite often I take
scanners apart and put them back together again, and VueScan just resets itself.
It is much better than NikonScan and is more than worth its price. I literally
recommend it to all photographers I know. For me, the batch scanning and the
high resolution are vital to the speed and quality of my work.”
To see David's work – visit: