Scanning Images from the Past

You know by now that I’ve had a life-long passion for photography, and years ago, made the fateful decision to purchase a beautiful, lightly used Pentax 6 x 7 at the local drug store for a mere 450 bucks. More importantly, I made a commitment to myself to actually use it, and I did.

So now, I have more than 1,000 2-1/4″ x 2-3/4″ negatives. They are of excellent quality, and mostly in color. There are also many black and white images like this one – shot against a roll of white paper in the dining room. I have pictures of a couple dozen bands I knew in the late seventies and early eighties. I don’t even know some of the people in these photos, but I am so happy to have them. I have wedding pictures, graduation photos, pictures of ex-girlfriends, family photos and much more. The pictures capture a time and a place in my life like nothing else could. Memories flood over me.

Scanning these images is time-consuming. The negatives were developed in a sink in my basement, so they weren’t very clean to begin with. Add to that decades of less-than-optimal storage, and you wind up with a scan that requires a LOT of retouching. My old Nikon film scanner has awesome features that work only with color negative and transparency film. It’s capabilities with black and white are more limited, so scans of black and white negatives are “pure” – I can’t just click an option in the scanning software and have the scanner clean up all of the dust and scratches. It takes two to three hours to get an image like this in shape. To me the results are worth it.

I’ve been scanning one or two images a day and sending them to a mailing list of friends from the past. They comment on the images, and revive other memories. It takes time away from my blogging, but the whole scanning/retouching/e-mailing process is a labor of love.

5 comments

  • Wen

    Yes dude, I know EXACTLY how you feel. My poems and other writings mean the same to me. It’s always fabulous to have a creative outlet, and you are a star with yours. I have had many people tell me how wonderful your blog is, and how much they enjoy the photos. Maybe someday, we can merge our talents together…unfortunately, we may have to keep it clean. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you this weekend….many a photo op will be available…

    -Wendage

  • Cindy

    ….and all of your Wisconsin friends appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into this project!

  • Kalvin

    Ditto to Cindy’s posting. That was a great time in my life and we were/are so lucky to them chronicled by a brilliant photographer. More, more, more. 😉

  • Dan

    Dear Dude,

    Running accross your web site completely by accident. I was looking for the # to Auctioeers Inn. We are from Racine. Of interest is the 4 boys in the band picture. One of them is Kent Parco, who died last year. My husband was in several bands with Kent. Perhaps you remember Take Me? In any case, any other band pictures would be of interest to Dan and other past band members.

    laura

  • Cindy

    We should find out Laura’s last name to see if we knew her back then.

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