When my parents came up for Christmas a couple weeks ago Dad brought a couple packets of old negatives, and I mean OLD negatives that belonged to his parents. There are several hundred of these and they are medium format film negative, 120 mm, a very odd size. They are about 2″X2″ and don’t fit in the scanner I have that I’ve been scanning slides and 35 mm negatives with. We started out cutting a couple of these down to size to fit into the scanner, but so many of them had so much history that I didn’t want to ruin them by cutting them. So, one afternoon Dad and I set out to buy a scanner that would accommodate these huge negatives. Guess what. You can’t get one. Well, actually you can, if you want to spend a lot of money, apparently the higher end Epson flatbed scanners will work. We came back home and I googled “convert 120 mm film negatives to digital” and found a blog that describes in detail how to take pictures of your negatives with your SLR camera (check) over a piece white paper (check) over a piece of glass (check) over a 100 watt light bulb (check). Then it gives detailed instructions for editing these “scans” or photos and inverting them to positive photographs. By the time I’d read the article and gathered the materials and take the pictures, Dad was fast asleep in one of his many naps of the weekend. I will never forget the awe and wonder I felt when I’d bumped up the contrast and exposure on the first photo and clicked the “invert” button in photoshop. The picture went from this:
I’ve been playing around with papers and lights, and working with the editing to get these just right. I have a long way to go and tons of work ahead of me, but I’m having fun trying to perfect the system.
Here are a few more examples: