Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Father's 4th Birthday (Photo of the Day)



Here is my father in 1948 on his 4th birthday with my grandfather.

My paternal grandmother has turned over all her photographs to me. They are not organized. Not a single one is in a photo album or labeled. Almost all are in the original film developing envelopes with the negatives (paper with acid I am sure). Others are loose. None have notes on them. The film developing places also didn't date the photos themselves on the back nor did anyone note it on the envelopes.

As you can see this photo is off-color. My grandmother thinks this is due to waiting too long before she got it developed. There is a yellow cast to some of these.

Others have a purple cast, those as well were not developed 'on time'.

Additionally I have exposed film going back to the 1950s which was never developed.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed here. I wish I could have all the photos developed and viewable in good, normal color condition.

I don't know whether I should try to scan all of these and try to digitally alter them to the right color. I could also use the negatives to create new images.

I have no clue what to do about exposed old film, who would even develop these now antiquated types of film and the odd sizes?

Then there is the idea of storing them in some type of album that is acid-free. Then there is how to label and store the negatives.

I'm feeling very overwhelmed.

Packratting and Disorganization
I'd also like to take this opportunity to share that being a packrat and disorganized does no one any good. I am seeing these photos for the first time in my life as is my father. Yes, my father is in his 60s and has NEVER seen childhood or baby photos of himself. I find that sad.

Under the Gun
I feel pressure to get at this project while my paternal grandmother is still alive. I have already spent a number of hours with her having her describe what the photo is of. She is blind in one eye now and has a bad cataract in the other (surgery to be done in the spring of 2008). So she can barely see now. Plus the other day she was told she has a life threatening condition that needs urgent surgery, the surgeon consult is tomorrow. She was told in the past she could die 'while under the knife' due to her heart condition and being 89 and not a great candidate for elective surgery on this condition which has now morphed into being urgent and life-threatening. Of course I feel worried about her condition but I'd also like to preserve some more family history before she passes away.

1 comment:

K said...

Christine,

On the old film - a good photography shop should be able to handle the sizes. Most of them are probably still in use if they're bigger sizes. Smaller size films might be more of an issue. That said, it's *highly* improbable that you'll get any useable negatives out of the film. The effort is likely to cost you a fair amount of money for the developing with nothing to show for it.

Regarding the use of the negatives to do new prints. You might be better off putting the money that you'd pay for prints into a scanner that will scan transparencies if you don't have one. That way you could just do one pass, scanning the negatives. A number of scanners have holders to handle some sizes of negatives. If you aren't sure what sizes you have, a photo shop would be able to help with that as well.