Saturday, October 05, 2013

Accentuating the Negative

This morning I'm working in my office, clearing, sorting, shredding, filing--that sort of thing. I just opened a small cardboard box that contained, among other things, florists' cards from my mother's funeral and a baggie full of old photographic negatives.

An idea hit me. I pulled out one of the negatives, placed it on a white sheet of paper, took a picture of it with my camera, then uploaded the image to my computer. This is what it looked like after I cropped away the white paper:

Next, using the "invert" filter in PhotoShop Elements, I changed the negative image to this very light positive one:

I then tinkered with the lighting adjustments (highlights/shadows and brightness/contrast) to make the picture as clear as I could and realized it's one I've never seen before. The final result still isn't great, but I recognize both the little girl and the outfit she's wearing from another old photo, a formal studio portrait. Here, after all the tweaking I know how to do, is an approximately 68-year-old snapshot of me, picking my nose.


While I was working on the photo, the music in my head kicked in with a fitting scrap of a song lyric: "I put your picture away..." Those words are from a really good song, and it's Saturday, so thank you, Inner Jukebox, for suggesting this week's Saturday Song Selection.

The song is "Picture," by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow.
Thanks to alexiahazlett for posting the song and its lyrics on YouTube.


  1. What a fabulous idea for at least seeing what the photo is before deciding to spend money on having a print made! I simply adore the nose picking shot!!

    That song is one of my faves!

  2. Holly, I'm thinking I could line up strips of 33mm negatives on a sheet of paper and photograph a whole bunch of them at once with a high res. camera. It'll be interesting to see what the "invert" filter does to color negatives.

  3. Please post if you get results... fascinated by this!


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