The most high profile victims among photography archives have been newspaper archives. With the advent of digital photography the cost of keeping large collections of negatives and prints that were rarely used did not seem justifiable. In many cases they were simply thrown away. But some newspapers have kept their negatives and prints and want to preserve them. In the case of a local paper like the Newtownards Chronicle – and this would be true of many other local papers – their collections are unique. They don't offer a different view of national events, they offer the only record of what went on in their area.
These may not always be very important events but they demonstrate the link with the people that the newspaper serves. When we went to speak to the Chronicle's two photographers, Bob Torrens and Jonathan Coates, they were evidently proud of the connection they had with the people they regularly photographed and were concerned that the newspaper's archive (much of which was their life's work) should be well looked after and made available for people to use. Even with such committed advocates and the obvious care they took over their collection (which despite appearances was well organised) it is unclear what the long term future of this, and many other, newspaper photography archives will be.