Seeing the Positive in the Negative


Snowy Ravine – Central California | ca.1996.

Among the positive aspects of the “digital revolution” in photography have been the increased ease of capturing images and the decreased time it takes to see the results–I still remember all too well when “next-day prints” was the talk of photo shops around the country. One of the few things I truly miss about film and negatives is that sense of remarkable discovery when taking a negative that had long been written off as nothing particularly interesting and ending up with a print that is quite the opposite.

I came across this negative (taken ca. 1996) a few years back as I went through and scanned a bunch of negatives that had never been printed.

What I remember most about taking this picture is that I wasn’t happy with the composition as camera placement was limited due to the restrictive nature of snowy mountain roads. What strikes me most about this photograph now is how the familiarity of the scape is somewhat thwarted by the odd sense of scale & perspective given by the disparity in size and shape of the sparse scattering of trees (I’m just trying to sound smart, really). But because a negative often isn’t much to look at, that was hard to get and easy to overlook.

In any case, while it’s been nearly a decade since my last serious use of film in photography, I am thankful for my experience with it if for no other reason than that it has guided me to always look for the positive in the negative both in art and in life.