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This year marks the beginning of a long term project to digitally archive thousands of 35mm slides and negatives taken over a 40 year period. I originally started this 20 years ago but quickly became bored with the time taken to scan images, and disappointed the results I was achieving. This was very much to do with our knowledge of scanning techniques and limited free time as the Minolta scanner used was very good, albeit very slow. It was sold many years ago and the decision to purchase another meant that we had a steep learning curve ahead as well as the necessary dudiligence to complete regarding the most suitable scanner for our purpose. We eventually settled on the Epson Perfection v850 Pro, which will be the subject of our own review as we become more familiar with it.

After an initial learning period, we randomly selected a case of slides taken in 2012 while on holiday on the Greek island of Lesvos. Using these as a test bed for the scanner as well as a training exercise to develop our own skills, some of the results are shown below. Our technique changed many times, sometimes requiring several rescan sessions to achieve the desired output Film stock used was Kodak Elite Chrome, a very saturated medium that was intensified by the use of polarising filters. Heavy saturation is something I moved away from many years ago, but I have preserved the finished result as I want to reproduce the project as it was originally shot. Cameras used were Olympus OM1n and OM4Ti with 135mm f2.8, 50mm f1.2 and 21mm f2 Zuiko lenses.

Looking ahead, it is our intention to add occasional collections to PhotoArk taken from this untapped resource as the year unfolds. Producing good results takes time, so I suspect that the project will run beyond 2023. And then there is an enormous library of negatives to explore that go back to the beginning of a lifetime’s work!