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  1. #1
    BirgerA's Avatar
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    Revisiting old negatives, how often

    Hello all

    I'm currently working on digitizing my negatives, for the purpose of having a database. In doing this I've found a few images that I will try to print and that were overlooked in the initial evaluation of the negatives.

    This makes me wonder, how often do others take a look through their old negatives to see if there are any hidden treasures there?

    Regards

    Birger A.

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I have a database of my negatives and keep notes this helps when going back to older negatives. So if I'm working on a project I can quickly go to the relevant negatives and look at images I've not used before.

    This came in useful when I was asked to put on a large exhibition and needed to tailor the images to suit the venue & potential audience, I was taking images from two existing bodies of work and adding additional images to make the final selection more relevant & coherent. The images spanned a 20 year period.

    Ian

  3. #3
    David Brown's Avatar
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    In the past few years, I've had not only a resurgence in my photography output, but also a few epiphanies about printing. So, It has become a semi-project to revisit old negatives and see what I can do with them. In the process, I've discovered that there are negatives that are simply "different" to me now, in addition to my possibly being able to print them better.

    In 2006, I was invited to a "gathering" of photographers, so I made a portfolio of 12 prints to take to that event. It was well received and it included not only some new work, but a few negs from years ago. St. Ansel once said: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." So I've decided to print a portfolio of 12 each year. Adams was no doubt talking about making 12 new photos a year, but I'm going to include old negatives each year because they will be "new" to me.

    So, to answer the OP question: "how often do others take a look through their old negatives" - about once a year.

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Since my large format negatives aren't well catalogued, they get frequent reviews. Each review is a treasure hunt. 35mm negatives are catalogued, and some gems among them will never get a second look.

  5. #5

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    As I have contact sheets for all my films, I often look through them just in case a potential 'treasure' has been over looked.

    Also I reprint old negatives from time to time because I may have a different 'feel' about them then when they were first printed. For example I might now consider them too dark or too light, too contrasty or too soft. To print them on different paper or a different size.

  6. #6
    23mjm's Avatar
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    Not as often as I would like Time just isn't on my side---damn work keeps getting is the way. But I have gone through my old contact sheets looked at a pic and said to myself-----hummm why didn't I print that at the time???? Then I answer---because you didn't have the time. At which point I seek counseling because I am talking to myself again and answering myself too

  7. #7
    Dietmar Wolf's Avatar
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    Never. Throw them away.

  8. #8
    Blighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dietmar Wolf View Post
    Never. Throw them away.
    Aarghh! You jesteth surely? When I first started photography back in the early 70's, my negs weren't contact printed. Anyway, a couple of years ago, I eventually got around to doing just this. Amongst the pretty awful stuff that - as a 13 year old spotty yoof - I churned out, was an incredible shot of my Dad. It is one of the best pictures I've ever taken - period. On the negative it looked very thin and unpromising and had I not seen it in the positive, it would likely have remained unprinted.
    Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.

  9. #9
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I sometimes go through my negs and see what I can find from the past that might interest me. Then when comes time to print, I try one or two out that caught my eye. Sometimes I get something good, other times I don't. It puts things in perspective, however, and I find it is fun because I can relive the moment I clicked the shutter.
    What's weird is that I can almost always remember what lens I used for those old negs.
    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  10. #10

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    I'm looking through old negatives...although instead of searching for "hidden treasures"...I'm looking for mediocre negatives to torture with boiling water to see if I can turn blah images into interesting ones

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