Glass Negative Project

In the early months of 2010, members of the Paul Krot Community Darkroom embarked upon a visual journey through history and the evolution of the photographic process. Over the course of the next five months, we unearthed 1,250 glass photographic negatives in the Special Collections of the Providence Public Library. We saw images of local history come alive and scenes of Kennedy Plaza before mass public transportation was a part of everyday life. We saw local farms and the families who tended to them. We held in our hands the product of a now lost method of photography.

Now, through careful cataloging, we have captured these images in digital form to give you, the people of Rhode Island and beyond, a glimpse into an era that, before now, was only preserved in memories and yellowed memoirs.

Every image in this collection was taken between 1890 and 1920, the height of wet-plate collodion printing, a lost art and foundation to modern large format photography. The images are all of regional, historical significance, from scenes of pre-Depression era Newport Beach to the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire.

While our goal to preserve and catalog this collection is now complete, with each delicate glass plate housed in acid free archival envelopes and boxes, our work is far from finished. We at the Paul Krot Community Darkroom as the only publicly accessible traditional darkroom in Rhode Island are in the unique position to make archival grade photographic prints from these antique source materials, and we want to make these special prints available to you!

Browse through our extensive catalog of digital images and peruse the printing options. We can make contact prints of most negatives, and can make enlargements upon request. Details on pricing are available on this site, and our work flow specifications are explained in detail, but please feel free to direct any questions to mediaarts@as220.org.

All proceeds from sales will go directly to the Providence Public Library Special Collections and the Paul Krot Community Darkroom, to ensure that important historic documents can continue to see new life, and that people everywhere will have the opportunity to learn new skills and be inspired by tradition.

Visit the Photo Negative Gallery!

Ordering Prints of Glass Negatives

As the only traditional black and white darkroom in Rhode Island open to the public, the Paul Krot Community Darkroom at AS220 is pleased to offer printing services for these rare, antique photographic negatives from the Special Collections at the Providence Public Library. We print all photos on archival grade fiber based paper to ensure you receive the highest quality and most permanent image possible. The Glass Negative Collection includes approximately 1,200 images, all available for viewing and purchase in our online database.

When choosing your print, please take note of the image number beginning with “GN.” Please be sure to include this number when you place your order. This is the numbering system we have created to organize and catalog the collection. It is very important that you note this number accurately when you place your order to ensure you get the correct print. Also note how many prints you would like, and if you would like the image enlarged beyond it’s original size. Images vary in size from 3×5 to 8×10. We will make contact prints from the source materials unless you specifically request an enlargement. A fee will be added to increase the size of the print.

Pricing for unframed archival grade photographic prints are as follows:

$150 for a Contact Print on 8×10 Archival Grade Fiber Paper

$300 for a 16×20 Enlargement on Archival Grade Fiber Paper 

20×24 enlargements can be made from certain negatives, depending on the quality of the original image. Please understand that printing enlargements of that size is an intensive and delicate process. We will do our best to honor your request, but there will be a fee of $200 to $300 applied for prints of this nature. Please contact mediaarts@as220.org with request for 20×24 enlargements.

Print orders will be processed on a monthly basis, so please allow at least 4 to 6 weeks for your print to be completed from the time you place your order to allow for proper printing and delivery of your photo. Rush orders can be filled for an additional charge of $100 per print.

Thank you for your support and interest in the Glass Negative project. All funds generated from the sale of these prints directly supports the Special Collections at the Providence Public Library and the public access program in AS220 Media Arts and Paul Krot Community Darkroom at AS220.