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iShutterbug

Custom Photo Labs

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Last year I ran across a roll of developed Panatomic-X in a box and what I saw on it made me unpack my film scanner and scan a few images. They are shots of me and my generally homemade film developing equipment in the basement of our house in Southern Illinois. I was 16 yrs old and a Junior in high school. I called the business 'Custom Photo Labs' and because I gave 24-hour service on B&W it soon outgrew the basement and became a family business and got state-of-the-art Pako photofinishing equipment and moved into a building. The second image is the last on the roll, of me tweaking the S.U.'s on my "route car" with which I daily picked up and delivered films to drugstores in neighboring towns. We eventually had every drugstore between Carbondale, IL and Terre Haute, IN. [Taken in late 1960, Leica IIIf, 50 Summarit f/1.5, Braun strobe.]

[ATTACH]164232[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH]164233[/ATTACH]

Before I totaled it, rebuilt it, then totaled it for sure, I had fitted a Judson blower, Abarth pipes, Nardi wheel. It was black with red leather and wire wheels. My first car.

Edited by iShutterbug

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Thanks for the kind comment, Ben, I really appreciate it. I've always enjoyed photography and I still do. Since then I've gotten into computers and am thoroughly enjoying their coming together, it's like evolving to the next step, something lost, a lot more to be gained.

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Thank you, Virgil, your comment is much appreciated. Photography is something I just "grew up with" and always knew how to do. I never was, nor am I now, a really "good" photographer in that I don't have that "artist's eye" that I can recognize in a lot of pictures I see by others in this forum, but I try to make up for a lot by having fine equipment like my Leicas.

 

How Custom Photo Labs worked at the last was we had bought a VW and hired a route driver to deliver and pick up from the accounts up north in the morning and then he (or she) would get back around noon, drop off those films and have lunch, and then do the southern accounts, getting back around the time I got out of school. This was six days a week. I would then take all the films over to the "plant" (which was an old planing mill outside of town with good water circulation that had been partitioned off inside for "dark" and "light" rooms, etc.), develop and dry the films and then print them on long rolls of paper and put them in the processor and it would develop them, going through a wall, on the other side was I large stainless steel glossy dryer. I'd take the several dried rolls of prints and negs home and my mom would cut and price and package and invoice each store's business. On weekends I did the enlargements and copies and odd-sized film processing. All this processing was black and white; we sent all color film out to a processor in St. Louis. I did photo work for the newspaper and clubs in the area as well as the schools. We ended up selling the plant and the route to our competitor and I went off to college.

Edited by iShutterbug

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Nice pictures and even nicer story, but surely this is the most impressive factoid: "Taken in late 1960, Leica IIIf, 50 Summarit f/1.5, Braun strobe." - 50 years later..... Amazing.

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Fun stuff, nicely done. I assume you no longer have the MGA.

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