Our home is decorated with antiques and collections, as it’s our belief these items should not be hidden away just to possess them. Many items that have a functional purpose are still used as intended.
But glass negatives do not lend themselves to display, so they sit in a cabinet in the darkroom that Wifey uses as her eBay photoshoot area. I can justify having them and breaking my “Display It If You Collect It” rule by insisting I’m a savior of old images, rescuing the past with the hope future generations can see these images and understand the incredible work of these early photographers, especially with photos of everyday life with ordinary people.
My last blog showed some of the first batch of seventeen glass negatives I purchased at auction, included in a box lot with a tiny spy camera that I was bidding on. I have added to my negative collection selectively over these last fifteen years, with an eye toward interesting subjects, not just landscapes or portraits.
Here are some I think you will enjoy seeing. I have reversed the negatives digitally, to show what the printed pictures would look like. Note the rough condition of some. Also study the backgrounds for interesting items; it’s always the details that delight the viewer.
Common portrait of a woman at the end of the century, in a garden, probably wearing a wedding dress.
While early photos of guitar players might be rare, I find the wood stove interesting.
It must have been a snowy winter when this shot was taken,
Check out this room with the gentleman sitting at a typewriter, in an office chair and using two hands to type. Note the great stove in the background with a statuette atop, the laundry drying in the corner, washbasket on the floor.
This one is actually a positive print on glass, “Our Gang Comedy In The Streets Of Old Milwaukee”. Note the Pabst Beer sign on Tony Rott’s Saloon.
Now lastly, here is what our young lady looks like from the teaser at the beginning.
These glass plate negatives are found at all antique and collectible venues, but require a watchful eye to spot.
They come in many sizes and I have some in five different configurations from 4-1/4”x 4-1/4” square to 5” x 7”. I also have regular negatives and tintype photos in my collection.
Share your collection with us.