Tuesday, December 30, 2014


My great grandfather in the negative

There is something very odd going on in the world around me.

Some time ago, a neighbour told me he had taken some glass plate negatives to Dublin's Favourite Printing Company in town and asked them to scan/print them. They tried but said they only came out black. I subsequently printed them for him (or rather scanned them and gave him positive digital images which he got printed).

What had clearly happened here was that they tried to scan them in a conventional reflective scanner (how you scan documents etc.) and did not realise that the light had to go through negatives rather than being reflected off them.

A few days ago, the same neighbour brought an old negative into town to get it scanned and printed. Dublin's Favourite Printing Company, who by this time had clearly got the message, said they didn't do negatives. A well known camera shop, which I used to patronise in my own youth and which he contacted by phone, said they'd need to see the negative, which was not entirely unreasonable. Another well known camera shop (which has been around for yonks) took one look at the negative and said it couldn't be scanned and that there was no point in going anywhere else because they all had the same machines. It would have to be done "manually" which my neighbour took to mean in a darkroom with an enlarger.

My neighbour then (belatedly) contacted me to see if I might have any luck with this amazingly difficult negative. I asked him if he could see an image on it. Yes, a family group. So.

I got the negative from him and scanned it - no problem. It was unusual, but not in any way that affected it being scanned. It was harder than normal film; it looked silver on one side; it had signs of deterioration around the edges. Interesting but irrelevant. And I gathered it was quite old.

I'm not sure what was going on here. Is it possible that photo shops have scanners that don't scan negatives? Is it that in this age of digital some people, even in photo shops, don't know what a negative is (consigned to the fate of the old phonograph tubes)?

It's only as I am writing this that I remember doing a (very reasonable) deal with Hacketts (Baggot St) about 10 years ago to scan a load of rolls of negative film onto discs for me. Maybe that is the solution. Go to a sophisticated provider like Hacketts and forget all this photo shop thing.

Nothing like the digital age to deprecate the past.

My love affair with the camera

My great grandfather in the positive


Anonymous said...

Fuck me you write some shite.

Póló said...

That you John?

Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret said...

Sorry to be picky, but its Jon, actually.

Happy new year Polo.


Póló said...

Thank you Stuart.

Hope 2015 is good for you and that the dam bursts at last.

Great to have your blog up and running and with the archive. It is invaluable for people coming to the Jersey mess for the first time and for reminding those who have been following developments of how incredibly outrageous the whole thing is.

It is also a landmark in the struggle to keep the internet open, and, probably most importantly, an irreplaceable source of evidence and information for any inquiry that really wants to get its teeth into the rot.

Jersey is privileged to have such a strong dedicated alternative media in yourself and the other bloggers.

As for Jon. So many aliases, its hard to keep track. I've encountered Jon before under another alias but the tone was the same.

Athbhliain fé mhaise.