Save Those Negatives

I find it unbelievable that I have to write this, but the trend in film developing labs, not professional ones, but drugstore-types, is to return digital files and not return the negatives for film that they develop. It would be like Bob Dylan (or more likely his record company) saving one cassette tape of Highway 61 and tossing the master tapes. The negatives are the work, what we’ve made in camera. The print is just a representation. A digital file just a scan. But not the master image.

So, save your negatives. Share this with film friends, it’s imperative that we save the negatives if we are going to build a body of work. It’s obviously easy if you’re processing your own work at home.

Save the negatives, it might seem like a small, simple thing today, but someday we or our family in future generations will be glad we did.

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4 thoughts on “Save Those Negatives

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  1. I am on the struggle bus with storing my negatives. After I have a suitable scan, I work from the scan forevermore. To me, that scan is the original image. I do not envision ever building a darkroom for printing — I will send my jpegs off to be printed.

    Yet I keep the negs. Haven’t gone back to any of them since they were scanned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s certainly a good way to output digitally, but someday if the files ever get lost or corrupted, having the negative is a way to recreate the file again.


      1. Of course, and that’s the ultimate reason I still have my negatives. I suppose if my house burns down I lose everything: negatives and scans on both my computer and my backup drive. I should consider cloud backup too.

        Liked by 1 person

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