Archivist with The Enthusiast Network (TEN)
The Petersen Photo Archive represents the collected works of the photographers and editors of the Petersen Publishing Company from 1948 to 1997. Many of the negatives used for publications like Hot Rod, Car Craft and Motor Trend were cataloged and stored with great care. That came under the direction of the lead photographer Bob D’Olivio who set up hundreds of file cabinets and put the negative strips in to protective sleeves.
Unfortunately, many years later the new owners of Petersen decided the cabinets were taking up to much room and started pushing them in to parking lots, back alleys and trash bins. They had no regard for the historical value that was later realized. By then many had been destroyed and or misplaced.
It took people like Thomas to track down, dumpster dive and pull out thousands of negatives. With the card indexes in such disrepair and the negatives scattered all over – the task of re-cataloging everything seemed impossible.
Until people like Thomas Voehringer from TEN, along with representatives of the Petersen Museum and SEMA decided it was time to try piecing this all back together. The three companies are making huge investments in human resources and housing for the large collection.
Captn’ Bob and Arlo had a chance to see and tour just a small portion of the collection.