Aug 19

World Photo Day is Today!

World Photo Day


Today is another of those “Who Knew” holidays.

I was recently talking to someone about our upcoming trip to Scotland and she reminded me to take lots of pictures.  Then, she said to be sure to print them out so she could see them.

cornerUm, no way!  I haven’t printed out pictures since probably the 1980s – or earlier.

All the work that went into that.  Taking the film somewhere, getting back to the store to pick up the prints, buying scrapbooks, and those little corner holders, sorting, writing the people’s names on the back, the place.  Then, finding the right scrapbook to show people…

No, NO NO!

These days. I keep most of my photos online.  There are 53,568 photos right now in my Flickr account and it’s so much easier to share online.

It’s interesting about photos.  A couple of my first real jobs were working in photo processing.

When I was first out of college, I worked for Technicolor, processing negatives into photos.

US3418913-5Back then, the film had to be processed entirely in the dark.

When the door of the machine was open, the light-proof curtain of the cubicle was shut tight.

I learned how to thread huge, heavy rolls of photo paper into a machine – in total darkness. Over, under, around, over…

Neither the undeveloped paper nor the negatives could be exposed to any light – ever.

Someone else had cut the end of the roll of negatives square and stuck it to a “leader” using special tape which wouldn’t peel off during the developing process.

leaderThe leader featured small rectangle holes like old movie filmstrips. The holes catch onto sprockets which guide the leader card and film through the processing machine.

After being sure we had enough paper in the machine, we would feed the leader end of the negatives into the side and that automatically moved the leader card forward.

We’d be sure that the machine was set for the type (size) of film it was (mine were usually 110 or 35milimeter) and feed the roll of negatives through the machine, making minor corrections using a special keyboard. Different amounts of cyan, magenta and yellow were added or subtracted to each photo to ensure the color was correct.

Adjustments are also made for exposure to each individual photo, and sometimes we’d recenter the subject (or what we guessed was the subject).  Sometimes, we had to choose between 2 or more photos to find the one that was “best”.

Then we’d (finally!) get the prints, package them up and start again.

The whole thing was on piecework so the faster, the better.  The faster we worked, the more money we made.

pocketfilm-110The young women who had worked here longer than I had got really good/fast at this and they were able to work with newer machines that let them work in a large room out in the light and have others to talk with.  As I recall, those machines only processed the 110 film, which was becoming more popular with amateur photographers.

It was a boring job, but it was a job.  I worked there from late afternoon until midnight, so it gave me lots of time to hang out by Lake Metacomet where I was living with a roommate.

Somehow, my roommate had managed to get us an apartment right on the shore of the lake and it was much easier to hang out there in the sunshine than to drive to work and be in the dark all evening.

Sometimes, I’d call in “sick”  LOL

Tom and I moved to Milwaukee so he could go to grad school.  While I was there, I did substitute teaching for public school music classes around the Milwaukee area.

And, after school, in the evenings, I did photo processing for a small photo processing company.

They hired me on the spot because I knew how to thread that machine.  I didn’t have to do that for long, though.  Somehow, I got promoted to wedding photos, those that took a lot of care, color corrections, perfect centering…and I was mostly in the light.  No more piece work because I had to spend so much time on each photo, striving for perfection.

Fond memories, all of them.  To this day, I am very good at telling if things are centered properly, level, and if the color matches.

In the greater scheme of things, World Photo Day is an international photography event on August 19th that celebrates the passion for photography in our communities.

Go out and get some pictures.  Print them, if you want – or not 🙂