I very nearly threw all of those envelopes of negatives directly into the trash.
They’d been crammed together like trash, separated from their prints and randomly crumpled in one bulging envelope. Resented as future trash, just another thing to keep track of until then. Even when I was using film, (ha what? I used film once?) I had never understood why the drug store gave me these damn things with my prints. Negatives! For what — pictures I’d taken as some goofball kid in high school, 4x6s I’d already carefully pasted into collages and scrapbooks?
That’s exactly what those photos were good for, I thought. Negatives are for Real Photographers. Negatives are for the diehards of technology, the chemists, the artists, the luddite sages.
But then I held one dented, tiger’s eye strip up to the light.
What! I’d forgotten about this one. And what’s this? I must have given that print away. Hey, I realized, I want another chance with these.
I got my first digital camera (1.3 megapixel, cutting edge!) second semester of my Freshman year in college, and it was around then I started getting interested in photography as a thing I wanted to get better at: being able to see the result immediately was huge in figuring out what worked, and instant gratification has a way of becoming addictive. Since then I’ve gone through a few desk top computers, a few external hard drives. In the processes a lot of those early digital photos were lost. Data got corrupted, I didn’t transfer something correctly: for the majority of them, I honestly don’t know what happened to them. Even when present those photos were always intangible, disappearing with the click of a power switch.
But these negatives, randomly jammed together with no indication of date or location, managed to survive those haphazard, careless years. Instead of throwing them in the trash, I could just put them all in a ziplock bag and mail them to a scanning service. Why not right?
And so, ladies and gentlemen, through the miracle of past technology meeting present, I give to you the fine results of my first photoshoot. (I’d like to say I took this around age eight, but I think it may have been more like thirteen.)
Full album of random life experiences, age 16-19: here.