As it's widely known, I have custody of more than a thousand negatives from photos my dad took in the 50s. I heart them a lot and my brain is in a tailspin about things I can do with them to give them a new artistic life.
When we went to visit my mom last November, an additional stack of about a hundred of them had been found. Adding that to the 900 I already had pushed my total near 1,000. On Saturday, I got a small package from my mom who found them when she was cleaning out a cabinet of ammo she had finally gotten rid of.
I originally got custody of the negatives in 2006 when I went home for a visit. When I planned to go, there was some minor upset from my mom because she was going to be visiting my Aunt Patty in NJ so she would miss my visit. I can't remember now why I couldn't change my trip, but I knew my mom would get over it. As it turns out, that was the last visit I was to have with my dad, so I 'm really glad I went then and that we had a nice week together.
The only real drama to come out of it from my mom was when she learned that my dad had given me the negatives. "I was going to do something with them. You need to send them back."
My reply was hasty and came out more abrupt than I intended. "You''ve had those negatives more than 40 years and haven't done anything with them so now it's my turn..." She was really put out with me.
When I was visiting with my dad, I asked him if he wanted to go through the negatives and see if there were any in particular that he would like me to scan first for him to have as prints. He didn't really think about it at all and he responded quite readily, "No, I went through them and removed all the nudes a long time ago."
It wasn't something he seemed to want to discuss further, and though I was curious about "all the nudes" and whether they ever existed or not, I was more sure he was kidding, or that by "removed" he actually meant destroyed.
When I got the new batch from my mom, I learned that "removed" actually meant separated and stashed in the ammo cabinet that no-one ever goes into. As I looked through the new negatives, I saw several for prints my dad has as 8 X 10s that I really like, and just as I was about to forego looking through the rest until I could scan them, there she was, naked on the bed. Who, exactly? Likely no one knows.
There are about a dozen nudes, all of the same woman. Fortunately, there is also a photo of her fully clothed so I can scan that one right away and send it off to mom for possible identification. I am currently considering a matchbox series. Move over Vargas.