Monday, July 27, 2009

Shoebox History

There was a time when I knew a fair amount about photography and dark rooms. And I really enjoyed it. Being a process-minded person, I was always fascinated by the steps in creating black and white images. And I still, have a soft spot for black and white pictures. So, as my family has been cleaning out my grandma's condo, I've been intrigued by the old photos, and have been working to digitize them for posterity (and so everyone can have a copy).

The most recent find that someone unearthed, was an old drugstore envelope filled with medium format negatives. There's an accompanying album, and the photos all appear to have been taken by my grandfather during the last days of WWII. And I wish they could talk. There are photos of soldiers at an encampment, photos around France, photos on board a ship, and then finally overexposed images of what is clearly the NY skyline. I find them fascinating from a historical and personal perspective.

The photos have been taped into an album, and I had mixed emotions about dismantling the album to scan the pictures - so I scratched that. My initial plan was to take the negatives to a local camera store and ask about having high res scans made of the negatives or high quality prints made. I still may do that in the interest of pulling the detail from some of the degraded and/or overexposed frames. But in the meantime, I decided to see what I could do with my cheap(ish) all-in-one flatbed scanner and Photoshop.

Of those that I have scanned, this is, without a doubt, the best.
WWII Pics Trial

I believe that's my grandpa on the left. I can't help but wonder who these guys are and what are their stories. I'm creating my own narrative to tie all of the photos together. Here, I think they're getting ready to head home. They look relaxed and relieved. And young.

Here's one that's a little poorer quality.

WWII Pics0001 - edited

In a cafe. This proves that the self-timer has always been fun.

On the ship...
WWII PIcs - going home

And the next negative very clearly shows the Statue of Liberty and the NY skyline. Unfortunately, it's a bit overexposed, so I haven't been able to rescue it yet.

While scanning and photoshop is fun, I can't help but wonder if Rykert would mind if I turned one of our bathrooms into a simple little dark room, because that would be even more fun. Though, I'm certain I would need to refresh myself on the basics.

1 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Abby said...

I was really floored to find those - he never would talk about the war, just made funny quips to deflect the questions. I am surprised to find that he made and kept that album. It is a treasure. He was so young! Did you see the Congressional report that gave accolades to Uncles Jim and George (who knew)? Really cool stuff!

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