mad in pursuit journal


copy stand

Mother of Invention

How do I take glass negatives* and turn them into photographs -- if only to see what is on them?

Scanning doesn't work, so I (re)discovered.

I have an illuminated flat panel that I bought ages ago but half forgot about.** I have a tripod but it doesn't work like a copy stand where you can point the camera directly down. Now what? No more equipment!

With Jim's inspiration, I come up with an idea: cardboard box..

After a frustrating false start (camera on the wrong setting***), the contraption worked.

In Photoshop: Inverse. Curves adjustment. Ta-dah!

Results (detail from one of the photos):

negative Wabanaki positive


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* 14 5 x 7 glass negatives in the original Eastman Kodak Standard Dry Plate box, labeled "Wabaniki Play and Council." Held up to the light, they reveal crowds of people outdoors, many in full Native American regalia. Googling got me to the Wabanaki Tribe.

** The cheap little light table I bought for tracing works to a degree, but the color temperature makes photos all fluorescent-greenish.

*** Settings that worked: Exposure: +1-1/3; light balance = daylight; image quality: L; Distance setting = Macro.