Monday, May 18, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Keep Black-and-White Negatives Separate from Color--Or Else

For decades, my family believed in a "one envelope" policy for dozens of large-format 1950s/1960s negatives from both black-and-white and color photos. Bad idea. Now I know, too late, that it's better to separate b/w from color negatives.

How did I find out, the hard way? I recently brought all the negatives to a professional photo firm to have contact sheets made. The idea was to see who and what are in the photos.

When I picked up the contact sheets today, the experts told me the chemical reaction between the color and b/w negatives had caused the color negatives to go nearly blank. Their advice: Store the color negatives separately from the b/w negatives to avoid further deterioration. Done.

Meanwhile, the experts printed all the b/w negatives on contact sheets. I scanned the photos from the contact sheets, and now I can print any photos I please.

The two photos above were taken just a week or two after my sister and I were born. Who's who? Who knows. But the bench supporting the twin at left is part of my parents' mahogany bedroom suite, which remains a treasured family heirloom to this day. 


  1. Marian, thanks for that tip. I better check through the boxes of negatives I have from my parents.

  2. Marian,

    Oh. What a tough lesson to learn about storing negatives. Thanks for sharing what you learned from this.

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Ladies, thank you for reading and I hope your negatives are all safe! Jana, I'm honored to be included in your Fab Finds for this week. TY so much!