Abandoned Photos

You take a dream vacation, take lots of photos, bring them to a photolab, and never pick them up. Seems odd, but it happens all the time. About 10% of film and digital images ordered never get picked up. There are lots of reasons: people forget, don’t have money, lose interest in the subject matter, leave town, die………. Sometimes these photos are market “urgent” or “rush” because at the time it’s a freakin’ big deal. I have photos of babies being born, kids parties, Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, naked people, dog portraits, burning man crap, actor headshots, artwork, and everything under the sun.

I can see losing interest in a digital order since it’s on someone’s computer. But negatives and prints??? This is not dry cleaning! And by the way, we make every effort to contact the owners of the photos, and some people do eventually collect their property, but I have pictures here from The Eighties.

So, here’s my idea: I’m thinking of putting together a photoshow of a bunch of the ‘left behind and abandoned” photos. A random collection of the stuff people decided was once important enough to photograph, but not important enough to pay the proprietor of the photolab for his developing services. Is this an invasion of privacy?? Hell yes, but obviously someone doesn’t care enough to protect themselves.

Maybe you will see someone you know on the walls of my shop and let them know that they have film waiting to be picked up. Maybe it’s a picture of you on the beach, or in Paris, or getting stoned in the park, or maybe it’s a shot of an ex-girlfriend from a happy time in your life, or maybe it’s a photo of your old cat, or your old Mustang convertible, or even your Mom and Dad……….

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3 thoughts on “Abandoned Photos

  1. swanky mcswankerton says:

    ha, that’s brilliant. no burning man, though.

  2. miette says:

    this is perhaps the best idea i have heard all month. ooh, and how utterly romantic to see all the memories too soon forgotten. or memories someone would have liked to forget. reminds me of the song “i forgot to remember to forget about you”. do it.

  3. Hey, this is Andrea over at Photolab in the east bay. What a great idea! We have the same stack of unclaimed “memories”, the same abandoned rush jobs, and I do wonder why this happens. LIke you said, it’s not dry cleaning!

    And like you guys, we don’t like to throw this stuff out after 5, 10 even 15 years. Not just because we might still get paid for our work (that would be nice) but because it’s not easy to toss away other people personal stuff after we’ve worked hard to make it come out for them.

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