I Drive a Time Machine – Archiving Family Film, Photographs, & Negatives

Where’s my HUVr Board? I think I drive a time machine….

In the year 2014, much of my personal work and wedding photography work is now captured in 35mm film. Film is a gorgeous, tangible medium, presenting a soothing, etherial feel that digital cannot replicate. My freezer is stocked with hundreds of color and black & white film rolls ready for the next story. Finished film is processed, and the negatives digitized. I use Print File Archival Storage Sleeves to organize and protect the physical negatives for safe keeping. Not only are the negatives an analog backup, as with digital cameras, scanning technology will improve to allow even higher digital resolutions of negatives.

As my love for film photography has grown, I’ve been searching for old family negatives. My Grandmother was the first to deliver a large stack of negatives created throughout her life. Using light boxes, I carefully sorted through hundreds of negatives, loosely organized in a large envelope. The negative formats varied, 35mm, 4×5, 6×6, but were mostly in the tiny 110 negative format. Eventually they’ll be digitized, but first need to be organized. While the other archival formats are still available, 110 archival sleeves haven’t been manufactured for years, so I tweeted to Print File asking for help. Miraculously they found a last few 110 negative sleeves laying around and sent them my way! It was almost enough to finish the job and I’m so thankful to Print File for helping to preserve these memories!

As with all of my professional wedding photography and journalism work, it’s refreshing to know these family memories are preserved for posterity. I also realized that whether I’m photographing new memories or preserving old, I’m a historian. In the instant gratification age, few consider the long term significance of personal photographs. Through this process, I am reliving moments from my childhood, reconnecting with family members long past, and experiencing memories well before my time with photographs made by people who never knew me. There’s no way I could have wished for many of these images because I didn’t know they existed. These memories are invaluable to me, and bring even greater meaning to the craft as I photograph for others.

While there is no HOVr Board (yet), what an amazing experience it is transcending time. Do you have a story surrounding your old photographs? What’s your favorite? Use the comments below to share your story!

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