Dardis, Hands Off


That’s written on the Eastman Film, Safety Super-XX box in pencil with a “Develop before Sept 1941” expiration date.

The “safety” refers to the use of an “acetate” as a film material versus the much earlier “nitrocellulose” base. The latter being extremely flammable with spontaneous combustion being noted. Radiation or a spark could set-off an impossible-to-extinguish fire. (Whole movie warehouses have gone up in flames.)

Although the box indicates the film format to be 2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″, in reality, there’s a 2 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ box inside.

There were no film holders of this format in the estate sale, but since there are only 5 small boxes, I take it that the equipment was mostly likely borrowed from Stockton Junior College, where Joel studied at the time.

Opening the box, we find one contact print and 3 negatives in addition to a number of spacer cards and black negative interleaf paper. The latter are used in between negatives to prevent sticking and minimize negative scratching.

Nyhan Jeung, June 12, 1942

It is not clear if the date on the back of the print is the date of photo capture or the date of contact print. It’s still early day in the development of Joel as a photographer.

Caption on the back of the contact print.

The three negatives scanned are shown below. Two of them are typical photography class assignments but the last one is of a bookcase in Joel’s home.

Ceramic Head, Seashells and wood shavings.

The above art project is a collage of a ceramic head, few seashells and an assortment of wood shavings.

The notches you see at the bottom of the film are there so the photographer can recognize the emulsion side of the film and the notch pattern is equally an indicator of which film is being loaded in the film holders. Since complete darkness is required, photographers had to rely on tactile information to get the job done.

Christmas Ornaments

Another art project where Christmas ornaments are being used to create a scene to photograph. This was most likely set up at Joel’s home.

It’s very clear in the above image that Joel didn’t pull the dark slide all the way out, the arched end is clearly visible at the top, and this is equally the case in the Christmas ornament image at left. We’ve all done it.

The image is sufficiently sharp to be able to read the titles from most books. Mostly art-related books with a couple of classics.

There’s a Cabinet Card or CDV photo album under the wooden box above the desk section.

This particular heirloom secretary desk combination was sold during the March 2022 estate sale.

Secretary bookcase images from the estate sale online catalog.

Till we open next box !

Cheers !


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