Back in 2015, I  put some of my favorite photos in the Delta Fair Photography Contest. I didn’t win, but it was cool getting my work on display. Below is a rundown of my “process” for digging up the scans and getting them printed. Let this be a warning to all that organizational skills are fundamental in photography.

After I decided which photos I wanted to enter in the contest, I went to my iMac, brought up OneDrive (shut up) and looked for the photos. I knew what folder(s) they were in…kinda. However, I had made the mistake of accidentally overwriting the Pictures directory. So then I checked Flickr and found a couple. Shutterfly had almost all of them but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how in the hell to download them from Shutterfly.


This is NOT a System

Negative Space.

But this is not a good “System.” In fact, it’s not even a system at all! It’s like wrapping paper strewn everywhere after the gifts have been opened. I actually do have archive pages for the negatives. They’re under the pile on the left…and on my bookshelf, and a few under my bed. In fact, 3 years later and I still use this system. The sleeves are still somewhere in a pile to the left of the monitor.

This is NOT a good system

Negative Mass

Seriously, there are boxes of negatives, boxes of camera cases, boxes of camera parts and boxes of memory cards and USB sticks. I’m such an unorganized pack rat. In my closet lingers negatives that are hanging out to dry. None of this is a system, and it’s a freakin’ miracle I was even able to find any of the photos, but I did. That left me at problem number two: the due date. I learned about this contest a couple weeks ago. I even printed out the entry form, then waited until the last day to turn it in. The photo entries were due on a Saturday. They have to be 10×8 (landscape only), matted on 14×11 mats, and delivered. It was Friday morning.

This is NOT a system

Negative Support

…I uploaded them to the MPI Memphis photo ftp site with the message:  “Can you rush this for Friday afternoon 8/28/2015 pickup ? It’s for a photo contest I forgot about. Ugh! Matte, customer already corrected. 8×10. I really appreciate it. Please call me if you can’t get it done by EoB. Thanks for your help! <phone#redacted>” Yep. This is not a system. MPI did get them printed and I was able to get them entered.

But alas I still have multiple computers, multiple storage sites, piles of negatives not in sleeves, etc. It’s a good thing the first 10,000 photos are crap or I’d be in a bad state!

The good news is now that I’m shooting more Medium Format with a true MF camera, I’m starting to take more care with my negatives. I’ve got sleeves ordered, a new scanner tray, an online backup storage contract, and some cotton lint-free gloves on the way.