Recently, Mitch Rosenwasser, executive director of the U-M's Camp Michigania, handed Hoffman a box of 16 mm movies taken at Michigan's summer retreat at Walloon Lake. Rosenwasser wanted Hoffman's company, Priceless Photo Preservation, to digitize the movies for use in an online exhibit. "They've never been seen," says Hoffman. "They don't have a 16 mm projector."
Bringing analog images into the digital era is PPP's mission. "We see ourselves as archivists for hire," says Hoffman, who founded the company last year with help from fellow U-M School of Information grads Hanna Stelman and Eric Hansen.
It's a new career path for Hoffman, forty-seven. He started life as a journalist, most recently as a sports reporter for the Ann Arbor News, but took a buyout as the paper shed its old hands. He did some soul searching, couldn't find work, and took classes at WCC, then at SI. Two years ago, he spent a summer digitizing old records in the basement of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, turning, as he put it, "boxes and boxes of crap into foie gras." Then fate stepped in.
Chuck Newman, founder of Dexter phone recycler ReCellular, called SI prof Victor Rosenberg, to ask if he knew of anyone who could archive and digitize all of his family slides, photos, and tapes. Rosenberg suggested posting the project on the school's job board. "By luck, I saw it, and sent [Newman] some things," Hoffman recalls. "He called me within three hours."