26 October 2014

Photo Organization Project: Part 5

I am up to my ears in photos. And slides. And now negatives. Very, very old negatives from maternal grandmother.

What a treat! I've actually had these negatives since my mom passed away, but I haven't been inclined to do anything with them. Now that I'm working on my photo organization project, I figured that this is the right time to dig into the box.

It's only a cigar box, but it is packed full to overflowing. There are hundreds of negatives in this box.

 It's remarkable that the negatives are still in good condition, considering how they were stored. We found the box in my grandma's attic when she passed away in 2004, buried under a pile of insulation. The attic was freezing in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer. It wasn't watertight. Perhaps the negatives survived because they were protected by the insulation.

By holding them up to light or placing them on white paper, I can make out many of the images, and I cannot wait to have them developed into digital photos.

While many of the negatives are loose in the box, others are still in envelopes...with writing to indicate the time and event! As you can see, they are very old negatives -- these two envelopes are dated 1919 and 1920!

This envelope is especially interesting to me, as it includes photos from the Iowa State Fair taken in 1919! The fair is very special to me, and I cannot wait to look at these images.

 I took the box to the same small company which recently helped me convert some slides to digital files. Here's what I learned: It's very expensive to process old negatives due to the varied sizes and condition -- perhaps $3 each. So based on my conversation with the owner, here are my next steps: 

* Buy some white gloves for handling the negatives.
* Identify the most important negatives to scan by holding them up to light.
* Try scanning a few on my flat-bed scanner. Since I don't know how to do this and it's not obvious how to go about it, we'll see how it goes. I found several how-to videos online so it looks like it can be done.
* Depending on the results, take a few of the most important negatives to the developer for professional processing.

So it looks like this is going to be a labor-intensive process! We'll see how it goes. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Kristina said...

What a find! I spent a bunch of money a few years ago to have a bunch of negatives that I found at my mom's processed.