Henry Wilhelm, co-founder, president and director of research at
Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc., used his time during a panel discussion at the
Photo Marketing Association International
(PMA) in Orlando, Fl. to call on all companies in the imaging market to adopt standards. The standards would include methods of testing photographs for the length of time they would be safe from decay and ruin under various conditions.
The adoption of standards, argued Wilhelm, would protect customers from less than reputable companies making claims that cannot be substantiated, especially in certain areas of the market like inks and papers.
“We see a real threat to consumers by third-party papers,” said Wilhelm. “It causes a lot of confusion and it’s something that consumers are completely unaware of.”
Showing photos on a projection screen behind him, Wilhelm described a recent trip to a Staples store where racks of third-party papers posed to a danger to consumers photos because the paper was not manufactured using the same processes as name brand papers from the larger printing companies.
Third-party papers claimed to last the same amount of time as those offered by some of the bigger manufactures, but under Wilhelm’s own testing, he proved this claim to be untrue.
Wilhelm also singled out the ink refilling companies as posing a danger to consumer’s photographs over the long-term.
“Consumers are very unaware that their precious photos will be very short-lived,” said Wilhelm.
What Wilhelm suggests is a seal of approval and a process of obtaining that seal, agreed on by all the major companies in the industry. When the consumers see the seal on a product they would know their photos are safe for a specified amount of time.