Monday, April 16, 2012

Turning Something Negative Into a Positive

This past Sunday was the first day of the season at the local flea.  Although it was not nearly the long dreary endless winter of last year - in fact it has been quite balmy! - I was looking forward to heading over to poke through the goods.
Sadly, it started to rain a bit just as the dealers were setting up.  This was frustrating to all, but, some still braved the weather so I managed to scrounge a few things.  At the bottom of a box I found a bag full of negatives in sleeves.  I had no idea what the photos were, only that the sleeves looked like they dated to the 1940's.  I purchased the lot plus a couple of vintage magazines for $5 and came home with a new project.

At home I made a cup of coffee and took a quick look at each negative in the sleeves.  I broke them into two piles, those I wanted to scan and those I thought I could pass on for now.  As I went through I found a couple of photos here and there too - only three (see above).  As I made my my way through the negatives I could see that they were indeed 1940's - not only from the dress, and hairstyles of the women, but also from the fact that there were servicemen in uniform in many of the photos.  As typical of snapshots - both now and then - most images fell into the categories of people at the beach, traveling, with family or dressed up for special occasions.

My scanner does not have a film setting, but, I put them on the bed in groups, scanned, inverted, flipped and adjusted the details within Photoshop to try to bring out the best possible images from the scans.  Although I had an idea from the negatives what I would see, each time I inverted the scans I had a whole new set of images to surprise me!  Although these may in fact be in someone's album somewhere, I felt like I was giving the images, and, the people within them, new life by turning them to positives and sharing with you here.

I believe the photographer was a woman, as the name on some of the sleeves was a woman's name.  They were processed in Fall River, MA, and, I believe that southern Massachusetts and a trip to New York City are what most of the images capture.  The woman in the photo above appears to be holding a Kodak, so, it could very well have been her.

This idea ties neatly into a lovely set of pamphlets my mother gave to me recently.  They all show images of Kodak marketing still and moving images to women in the early part of the 20th century.

There are many photos at the beach, and, although the most fun, they are also the most overexposed negatives and thus the hardest to get the images from.  I still tried, however, as I love vintage snapshots of people laughing and goofing around and that is what people are usually doing in the beach photos.

There are also many photos of people dressed to the nines!  The one date I found was 1943 - I believe these hats and bags support that, don't you?

 Even the packaging and inserts were a fun glimpse into history.

Some of my favorite photos were those that showed storefronts or signage; the items and lettering style further help to date the photos.  The one directly above, and, likely the one above that, are taken in Manhattan.

I wish I knew more about these photos to share, but, it would all be speculation, so, I will just let you take a look at those I turned to positive and decide for yourself who these people are and what they are doing.  I will add the remaining images below - enjoy!




















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