In the beginning

While perusing the hundreds of 2 1/4″ medium frame negative sleeves and some 200+ boxes of 4″x5″ and press sized negatives, I came across an item that stood out, as there was only one.

A small cardboard container with a lid at both ends.

It appears the processing of whatever is in this container was done by a Hy-Klas Photo Service in Stockton, California. The only reference I could find so far to this service, was in a 1940 advertisement of Reiman’s Camera Shop on 528 East Main Street, Stockton, CA., but there’s ample reference to other locations regarding Hy-Klas Photo Service. So it is not clear which photo lab location developed this roll and more importantly, who made a contact print of the negative strips inside.

Although faded out by now, the container equally carries a Joel Pardis, Stockton, CA inscription on the other side of the Hy Klas Photo Photo Service label.

One cap reads 1938 and “Old Boats” while the bottom cap reads “1939”. The contact print inside this end has a May 1939 date, while the contact print in the 1938 side carries a Dec 28, 1938 handwritten time stamp.

Scanning the start of both strips gives us an idea of Joel’s possibly first subjects.

The Dec 28, 1938 strip shows Butch, the family dog, and the boats I also featured yesterday in the first blog post in this series. That particular strip ends with two images of Clara Pahl, Joel’s mother.

Sample of both contact prints (1938-1939)

The second strip, dated May 1939, needed some magnification to figure out location and subject.

It’s depicts lab work at St-Mary, the high school Joel attended. I assume this must have been his junior year based on his 1921 birth year. Not clear is the type of lab … physics, chemistry or darkroom lab, mixing chemicals for development, fixing and clearing of the negatives. (Gabriel Porros notified us that St-Mary’s acknowledged Joel Dardis graduating in 1940.)

Single contact print frame from the May 1939 roll.
Butch, the family dog.

The above image from Butch, the family dog, at the rear door of the 524 West Walnut Street, Stockton, CA. This is the home were Joel grew up but also where he resided for the majority of his life.

The technical information for the images is written on the back of the contact print but both end caps had pieces of paper stuffed in that sheds more light on Joe’s early documentation practices. Detail we’ll find throughout his photographic work.

The top slip of paper covers technical detail on the lens and shutter speed settings.

It’s not clear what the second piece of paper, with a newspaper clipping from 1939, signifies in the larger scheme of things. Maybe related to the boats he photographed at the Stockton Harbor. We’ll never know for sure.

Till next blogpost !


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