Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recovered Silver: Bringing Negatives Back From the Dead

Photo of the photographer, Robert Jones
Untergruppenbach, West Germany
c. 1986. Photo by Jeff Cate

In the late 1980s, after returning to the United States from three and-a-half years stationed in  Heilbronn, West Germany (it was a divided country in those days), my negatives went into storage. During this period, a flood filled the basement they were housed in, the water mixing with chemical fertilizer that was also stored on the cellar floor. When I attempted to rescue my negatives years later, seventy-five percent of them were totally corroded by the Scott’s Turf Builder primeval soup.

Fortunately, this impromptu portrait of me by (now) New York photographer Jeff Cate survived mostly intact.  Actually the corrosion has been kind to this photograph, lending it an even more menacing feel of creeping rot to my erstwhile punk rocker persona.