My Precious Negatives


In the summer of 2000 I had a bad fire at my then home in San Francisco. Among other things, all of my photos and negatives were destroyed. I had years of images carefully organized and stored in binders. I was pretty devastated at the time, but I got over it fine.

In my busines I deal with other people’s negatives every day, and these people are very particular about how we treat their precious babies. Say if we cut your film in strips of 6 instead of 5, or if we should not have cut the film at all, there can be hell to pay, not to mention if we by accident damage your film. Nowadays we can scan so it is like a backup system. You have your original negs, but you can also have a high res digital version which I now prefer. I find it liberating to be free of all the binders and filing. Some say a print from the neg looks better, but I can’t be bothered with a darkroom.

Lately I’ve been playing around with intentionally wrecking my film with detergent, salt, boiling water and various other chemicals. I like subverting the intergrity of the negative. Yeah, that’s pretentious, but it’s also cathartic for me as a photo lab owner to destroy film. When I think about how upset someone can get if I just put the slightest nick in their negs, I have to laugh as I annihilate by Tri X like a mad scientist.

So, do you still trust me to develop your film?? Don’t worry I only experiment on myself.

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