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  1. #1
    darinwc's Avatar
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    Old photos, no negs

    my aunt brought an old photo album to my parents last weekend.
    it had many black and white photos of her and her family.

    Many were warm-toned, though I dont know if it was a chemical toner, warm-toned paper, or browning from the aging paper.

    Some of them were quite stunning, though small. most were only a few inches across. I would have liked to print them larger, but alas there were no negatives to work from. When asked, my aunt said she doesnt remember ever seeing the negaives.

    So this led me to wonder if years ago it was common practice to only receive prints and no negatives.

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    They were probably contact prints from medium format negatives.

    You can dupe them and make new negs.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    When I worked in the photo store, it was quite common to see prints of families and they did not have the negs, many of the old time photographers did not release their negs and only provided prints, even now a days many studios don't give the negs away unless the customer purchases them for a fee above the cost of the photographs. They are quite easy to make dups and have printed.

    R.

  4. #4
    darinwc's Avatar
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    these were all just snapshots... I think david was right that these were mostly contact prints from mf roll film. I was wondering if it was common practice for the consumer developing labs to return the negatives or if they kept/destroyed the negs.

  5. #5
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Normally the photographer kept the negatives, and stamped the back of the picture with his name, shop and such, I know the store I worked at had thousands of sets of negatives they they would go through every year and destroy anything over 5 years old that had not had any prints made off of them, that has been pretty much common procedure for several decades now, we purchased another shop a few years ago, that had a studio and in cleaning the place out, found thousands of negatives dating back to the early part of the last century. If it was a regular consumer lab and ot a pro shop, they normally would return negs as they do in the 1 hour labs now a days.

    R.

  6. #6
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darinwc
    these were all just snapshots... I was wondering if it was common practice for the consumer developing labs to return the negatives or if they kept/destroyed the negs.
    I have hundreds of roll film negatives in their processing envelopes, taken in the 1920’s and 30’s and developed at the local Drug Store. It was common practice to return negatives with the prints from hobby photographers.
    —Eric

  7. #7

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    I've got nothing dating back that far, but I've got family photos from the 1960s and later, and negatives for many of them. For the rest, I think they've just gotten lost. There are a few for which I'd love to have negatives, but I don't. I expect that most snapshooters don't organize and care for their negatives the way most people in this group do. My suspicion from going through these old family photos and scanning them is that this is particularly true when reprints are ordered; the negatives get returned with the reprints but somehow never make it back to the same storage space as the negatives for the rest of the roll. In the case of your photos, darinwc, it's quite possible your aunt just never paid much attention to the negatives and so doesn't remember seeing them.

  8. #8
    tommy5c's Avatar
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    It's a lot like today where the lab will process them and send back both. But also like today they are often separated and mistakenly tossed out. Recently I was able to print some 70 year old negatives for my grandmother. It to was a case of the pics and negs were separated, only I was fortunate enough to have the negs.

  9. #9
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    I believe local drug stores usually returned snapshot negatives with the prints. I have family negatives going back 80 years. However, many snapshooters didn't appreciate the negatives, so they were misplaced or lost while the prints were preserved in albums.



 

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