My wife and I were digging through an array of boxes the other day in a long-awaited moment of filling up long-past needed bookshelves that we found online for a steal. We’ve had boxes upon boxes of books and keepsakes stored in endless garages, storage units and closets since, well, even before we met each other. This last week, we actually got enough bookcases to provide a home for all that… stuff!

Among the stockpile were negatives and prints from some early lighting tests I had done quite a while ago. There were no dates on any of the prints, but based on my recollection and the clues found within the photographs (i.e. the Back to the Future deLorean model kit from 1991 and the Macintosh LCii which was discontinued in 1993), I’d say they were taken sometime around 1992.  I graduated high school in 1991 and started attending ArtCenter College of Design in 1994, so these pictures were done during my junior college days.

If I remember correctly, I was studying a lot of David Fincher music videos and magazine ads for lighting styles and was still figuring out how to make things look nice for my video projects.  My sister had a 35mm SLR that she had stopped using and was, by default and unofficially, in my possession.  I wanted to see if I could replicate the lighting I saw in all those videos and magazine ads.  Two music videos, in particular, that were a big influences were Paula Abdul’s “The Way That You Love Me” (version 2) and George Michael’s “Freedom.” I just re-watched those videos—awesome.

I found out that the one-hour photo place I took my pictures to would develop black and white film on their machines, but they said it probably wouldn’t turn out that great.  I took my chances and bought a roll of Kodak 5052 TMax 100 Black and White film and turned my sister’s room (she was away at college) into a photo studio.  I had two Smith Victor movie lights that we had used in our high school productions, a ladder, a cardboard box, tracing paper, some duct tape and a bunch of bedsheets… and voila!  Instant product photography studio!

Looking back at these photos, I’m pretty impressed with what I had done before I really knew anything—consciously, at least.

When I started studying at ArtCenter, we had to take a photography class and I had access to actual printing equipment so I dug up the negatives from this early shoot and re-printed some of them to see what was there.  I was pretty surprised to see some really nice photos that I had previously thought were kinda junky.  Here are some of those newer prints (I may have gone a little heavy on the contrast filters during the printing process). I wish I had more prints to show.

All these photos you are seeing (and their accompanying negatives) were in the trash until I realized I could blog about it.  Don’t ever throw away your film negatives!  You never know when you’ll need to dig ’em up and reprint them.

I’m going to watch the “Freedom” video again… Click here to watch the video again (you know you wanna).

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