Getting positive about negatives

Stan McKinney, positive about negatives

Wonder how many millions of negatives KPA member newspapers have? Can’t even begin to imagine the number filed away in a morgue someplace, and at least hoping those negatives haven’t been thrown away to save space someplace. Please tell us you’ve saved negatives in some form or fashion!

And think of all the work that went into getting pictures to the negative point. Rolls and rolls of film that had to be developed, pictures upon pictures having to be taken before the film could be developed was the first requirement. Then contact sheets and printing pictures for use, looking closer to make sure exposure was correct and the finer parts of the pictures are in focus. And double-checking the contrast.

Point and click is a little too generic about what it’s like today but certainly nowhere as tedious as in days gone by. If you were given an assignment well away from the newspaper, you weren’t able to just send it back to the newspaper like you can today — digitally. You went back to the office, developed the film, printed some pictures or a contact sheet and then the let editor choose the picture(s) to be printed in the paper.

Going back in time, maybe to the 40s and 50s if not beyond that, Kentucky has been blessed with some of the best newspaper photographers in the business. Some of their work is on display on newspaper pages. Some they preserved themselves of their favorite photos that didn’t get used just because they were proud of the shot. Others preserved through contact sheets in case the need would arise in the future for use of another photo. And then, of course, negatives had to be preserved.

Stan McKinney, one of those who fits the bill of a quality photographer who did his work in Kentucky but not back in the 40s or 50s, is now at Campbellsville University, overseeing the school’s journalism/communications department. And he wants to do something to make sure Kentucky’s past, through the lenses of Kentucky photographers, is always kept. That’s by creating one place where those negatives can be filed and maintained so they are never lost when space conservation is an issue.

If you are willing to have those negatives preserved, hopefully all in one location, please contact Stan McKinney at He’s developing (no pun intended) a plan so the history of Kentucky, through the lens of Kentucky photographers, is preserved.

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