Finishing The Story– Test Prints

So my last few posts have been on a project I like to call “finishing the story.”  Basically I’m finding old rolls of film that haven’t been developed as well as old negatives and making prints and doing a little research to find out the history behind the images.

Currently I’m working on a lot of negatives that I got that from the turn of the century.  I tried scanning in the images but found that making actually test prints is the better route for me and my research. So as you can imagine, it is taking a while to print over 100 negatives.

Although it’s quite time consuming, I’m in love with the whole process. Seeing the images as they appear in the developer and then turning the lights on once you are in the wash is always so exciting to me.  I’m no where near finished or even close to figuring out the story behind the images yet.  But I am enjoying the journey and the whole process of being a photographer in the darkroom.  There is just something so authentic to the roots of photography to be able to still get in the darkroom with the enlarger and the chemicals and make a print.

All that time in the dark gives you time to think too.  I really started trying to form into a clear idea why this project is so important to me.  I think for me, seeing images that were of ordinary life, not necessarily the stuff in history books of major events or famous people in history, is so crucial to understanding and appreciating history.  Someone, at some point thought this moment, place, person was important and wanted to document it.  Maybe it didn’t make it into a textbook or magazine, but it still helps to shape the idea of what life was like in the turn of the century.

So that is where I’m at right now.  A darkroom full of thoughts and test prints.  A lot of people who aren’t necessarily photographers had been asking me about the process of making a print and how it happens.  So I made a really simplistic video highlighting the major points to just give a little update and insight to the project.


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