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Analogue Arrangement: How I Save My Negatives

After shooting 10 rolls worth of pictures, I discovered that it's not that practical to have all those plastic sheets with negatives lounging around. I wanted to scan some negatives again and had to fight myself through a jungle of images to find out which group they were in. And it's always the one you check last...

Finding a solution wasn’t the easiest thing though. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and when I have a picture in my head of how I want it, I’m like a pitbull dog, I won’t let go ’til I get that picture (always hilarious when people like that dive into the adventure that is Lomography…)

The biggest issue for me was making my archive independent from technology. I didn’t want to hassle myself with a PC using online databases, spreadsheets, etc. I just used some old-fashioned pen and paper combination to make it all come together.

Keeping my archive in a Moleskine was the obvious choice. I’ve been a huge fan of the blank books for the past 7 years and you can always find me making notes and doodles in them or scribling crochet patterns.
One of the Moleskins (the soft cover ones) has a black cardboard cover. I used a white pen to scribble to be artsy and then I stuck a strip of unused negative on it.

On the inside, my contact information can be found. Together with the promise that if someone finds and returns the book to me I’ll shoot a full roll for them with my analogue machines.
So, I have the registration covered, now for the actual system!

I get most of my film on the roll and I cut them myself. Sometimes this means I have long negatives that just don’t fit into a normal negative sheet. I choose to put the developed rolls back into the canisters. (That’s how I roll, so to speak)

A sticker goes on the canister’s lid and I write a number on it that correspondes with the number in my Moleskine.

Finally, I did decide to put another label on the canisters with a small summary. The type of film, the date and what’s on the roll. A more detailed description will go into the Moleskine.

As a little extra, I put little stickers on the canisters that will instantly show me with what camera the roll was shot.

The 120 film rolls where a bigger challenge. I eventually decided to leave them in the sheets my developer puts them in. I hardly ever shoot on 120 film so this isn’t really a priority.

Collecting all the rolls in one place to keep them organized was the last hurdle and with a great little cardboard drawer I found at the local department store, I fixed that! Eventually, I want to cover them in stickers that I get everywhere but for now it’s still all ‘new’.

The top drawer is 35mm canisters, the middle I filled with scanning masks and the bottom drawer will be dedicated to my 120 rolls.

written by pretletterp and translated by pretletterp

9 comments

  1. susielomovitz

    susielomovitz

    THAT'S AMAZING!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. trw

    trw

    Great article and great tips! Thanks!!!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. kingt4

    kingt4

    Very helpful, thanks!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. abhoan

    abhoan

    35mm negatives over time kept rolled up will start to create too many issues. Like early on they would be difficult to scan or print because they will always tend to curl up. Over 15 years the negative gelatine will become brittle and when you try to roll them open, they would form cracks.

    I would really recommend ditching those canisters and get sleeves. Roll open your negatives, cut them and then leave them in sleeves over time to straighten them. Best is to ask your lab to not even roll your negatives and cut them straight.

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. pvalyk

    pvalyk

    Advice to all Lomographers! Its not recomanded to use PVC sheet for photographic material, like your 120 film sleeves, because the PVC contains acids who damages the film.

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. duncancreamer

    duncancreamer

    This is a fine short term solution. The problems arise when you accumulate too many negatives for the box. (not to mention the issues with the materials degrading.) I keep my negatives in binders, (hanging files would be better) and so far I've got about ten 2 inch binders. I try to organise them sequentially, but really, that's impossible. Some rolls of film span over a year. (You might call that a problem with having too many toy cameras) So I've started transitioning to organising by camera types.

    The other bonus of this is that you can make a contact sheet of the negs to easily see what each page has and keep that next to the negatives. (my neg-holder has a sleeve for this, but you could just hole-punch it as well. This is even easier if you get your negs scanned to disc or otherwise digitize them and then print out a contact sheet. Super handy.

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. foodeanz

    foodeanz

    very neat!!!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. burslem

    burslem

    "That's how I roll" Made me laugh!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. skrutt

    skrutt

    Nice article! Well-written and easy to read!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam

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The original version of this article is written in: Nederlands.