I don’t normally bother picking up negatives, they are usually not very interesting and can be problematic to get an image from. Sometimes however the image is of sufficient interest that I take a punt. Earlier this week I found a rather nice negative with an interesting subject matter for 25p and it came home with me.
It was at this point my struggles began. I firstly tried scanning the negative through the flat bed scanner at work. Even after changing it back to a positive image and enhancing it on the computer, the image I was left with was pretty poor:After a chat with a photographer friend I took a different approach, apparently a scanner uses reflective light that is great for prints but not good for negatives. He suggested I take a photograph of the negative against a window so it had transmitted light. This was far more successful and even looking at the negative it was clear there was more detail:I ran this through an online programme to turn it into a positive image and played about with the contrast and brightness to give a workable image:The image itself depicts seven soldiers sat on a captured ‘German’ tank. They are all wearing tanker’s ‘pixie’ suits:And sporting what appears to be the leek cap badge of the Welsh Guards on their black berets:The combination of the tanker’s uniforms, black beret and cap badge suggests they are part of the Guards Armoured Division. The tank they are sat on has a clear German ‘Balkan’ cross painted on the turret:However it is clear that this is actually a WW1 vintage French FT17 light tank:Over 3000 of these tanks had been built and although it was long obsolete at the time France fell it was still in French Army inventory. The Germans captured 1,079 of the tanks and pressed them into service for airfield defence and internal security duties. By 1944 when this picture would have been taken they were completely useless and it seems likely this tank had been abandoned rather than lost in combat! Either way it makes an interesting and attractive image which has made the difficulty in getting a working image worthwhile.