Positive Negatives

January 3, 2016/0/1

Back in the day (College Sophomore 2002)

I worked as a Photo Lab Technician at the local Walmart (Side note, this is the same Walmart where I first met my lovely wife, Amy). Back in the early aughts film development was still a very real thing, as digital cameras were just entering the scene. A big part of this segment was disposable cameras, usually from a wedding or maybe Grandma’s sock drawer with 5 year old film inside. I became a pro at tearing apart those cheap plastic enclosures and salvaging the batteries and film inside. Everyday felt like a new adventure in peeping-tom foolery. As the story goes with one hour photo development, an employee would need to sit with each roll of film and develop it slide by slide, skipping any non-exposed slides, under-exposed messes, or, on occasion, inappropriate slides (for which we would have to leave a “Naughty Note” for the customer in question). This always made for great dialogue while emptying the photo emulsion and other noxious chemicals we dealt with at the end of the night.

One particularly slow night, I decided to conduct a negative exposure experiment with a fellow photo lab technician for one of my college art classes. We crumpled and stepped on small pieces of scrap film and set them up on the developer, creating the sinister negative kodacrome photos seen here. I randomly played with color and lighting adjustments on the developer machine itself – no photoshop involved at this stage. I went on to use these in many college projects. What do you think of these prints? Leave your comments below, and feel free to share your own art-related work stories as well!