My Grandpa was 90 the other week and at a birthday lunch for him I was handed a small orange "Film & Print Wallet, Let Woolworths Develop your Snaps!" with some negatives from the 30's, 40's and 50's (found in the back of a book by account!) Being the most technologically savvy 90 year old that I know Grandpa wanted me to transfer some old Box Brownie 120 negatives so that he could have them on his computer and iPad, I was delighted to comply.
In this age of digital photography there is nothing nicer than handling the tangible and physical nature of 'negs' something I do not do anywhere near often enough. I immediately held a couple up to the window in the room and was filled with the excitement of seeing an image on celluloid, wishing I had packed my loupe with my suit.
Back in the studio a couple of days later, and no longer having access to a 120 film scanner, I set up my lightbox (once I had gone through a box of old adapters to find the correct one!) and photographed the negs in the same way we used to produce duplicate transparencies in my first job at LAT Photographic (thanks for that lesson remembered Peter Spinney). After a quick google search on how to produce a positive image from a negative in Lightroom (reverse the tone curve for those interested) the images came to life and I had 46 images from the 30's and 40's in my library. A wonderful glimpse back into the childhood and early family life of my Grandpa: images of my Great Uncle Jack, who died during The Second World war, and who coincidently shares a birthday with Scarlett my youngest daughter; lifelong passions of my Grandpa, horses and boats; the family home Scampton House, which is still in the family; and a few of my mother, her sister and her brother as very young children and several of dogs and cats!
My favourite image of the set is this one of my Great Uncle Jack in typical 40's beachwear! I love the pose, I love the crop (almost certainly unintentional), I love the tone, and I love the warmth it gave me as it appeared on my screen. (It could only have been made better it it had been under the red glow of a dark room as it appeared from a bath of developer.) That gives me an idea.................