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Getting x-rated photos printed.
November 2, 2005 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Getting x-rated photos printed.

I was in college about 8 years ago and during a vacation weekend with a former gf we took a ton of pictures. We never got them developed and just recently I found them again. We're no longer together, but I asked her and she has no problem with them being developed. They're just topless as far as I remember, but I live in the bible belt and a little weary of taking them to the local walmart. Are there any reputable online sites that will do the work? She was 19 at the time, but I don't want anyone in a uniform knocking on my door.

(I know 8 years is a long time, but I developed the rest and they came out fine)
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (30 answers total)
 
I know in Chicago, Walgreens will develop dirty pictures. In fact, the last time I was in there all the photo-ladies were oohing and ahing over a male stripper's, uh, portfolio. It's probably a good idea to inquire about their policies before handing over your film. I once had a mooning picture removed from a roll of film I got developed at Target. They left the negative, but took (and probably kept!) the racy photo and inserted a little flyer explaining that they don't develop naked pictures.
posted by bonheur at 5:24 PM on November 2, 2005


You won't be the only person who will see--or save--those pictures. I know several people who work in photo labs, and every lab keeps binders in which they save copies of choice customer prints--nudes, embarrassing images, you name it. You should also know pictures of guns, explosives, and all those pictures submitted to High Times are routinely copied and forwarded to the FBI and the ATF along with the customer's names and credit card numbers.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:36 PM on November 2, 2005


I'll confirm the saved "best of" photo libraries.

I knew a photo tech that worked at an upscale pro color lab, and he had dozens of shoeboxes filled with copies of photos. It was simply a matter of hitting the print button twice and grabbing the duplicate from the output feed.

He tended to save photos that were strange, unusual, aberrations and other errata rather than superflous nudie pics, but he saved them nonetheless. Apparently this addiction was the only thing that kept him sane working at what amounted to a menial repetitive motion job.
posted by loquacious at 6:14 PM on November 2, 2005


One option that you might pursue is taking them to a one-hour place and asking them to develop the roll only, and not make prints. If you hang around while they work, they may not attempt to make their own keepsakes. Try a place with an exposed machine (Wal-Marts aroung here), and go in at an odd time, like right when they open. Tell them you are an art student, and you need the film developed quick so you can make some prints at the school lab.

After you've got the negs done, you could just scan them.
posted by MrZero at 6:36 PM on November 2, 2005


You should also know pictures of guns, explosives, and all those pictures submitted to High Times are routinely copied and forwarded to the FBI and the ATF along with the customer's names and credit card numbers.

That's gotta be a joke. I can't imagine any photo lab having the spare time to keep up a mail correspondence to the FBI just for a pic of a gun.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:42 PM on November 2, 2005


Practically all minilabs have switched to a digital process; your negatives are scanned after being developed so ploys like MrZero's won't be effective. The operator can just print them out after you leave.

Any decent pro lab will be discreet. Unless you girlfriend is Jennifer Aniston or something your photos won't be all that interesting to them. If you don't have one near you B&H has 35mm mailers for A&I for $12.
posted by Mitheral at 6:53 PM on November 2, 2005


Yes, are you serious? how reliable is that information. I mean, it's perfectly legal for me to own a gun and photograph it, I don't see why that would get me an FBI file (or what my credit card number would have to do with it).
posted by crabintheocean at 6:55 PM on November 2, 2005


rolypolyman and crabintheocean: all I'm gonna say is I minored in photography, I worked one summer at a photo lab, I've known several photographers and photolab techs, all of whom have said the same thing. If you think I'm joking, if you think I'm not serious, think again.
posted by fandango_matt at 7:06 PM on November 2, 2005


That's gotta be a joke. I can't imagine any photo lab having the spare time to keep up a mail correspondence to the FBI just for a pic of a gun.

Some are required to, and the FBI pays for the mailings. We had to file a report at one lab I was at every single time that we printed a picture of a nude child, more than one gun, or a gun being pointed at someone, and any potential drug use whatsoever. We had a postage-paid envelope that we had to drop them in, with a small form with the customer's name and any other info we had. It was not an optional policy and employees were fired if they did not follow it.

Welcome to democracy in the 21st century.
posted by SpecialK at 7:09 PM on November 2, 2005


If you're really worried about it--and willing to put in the work--take a local photography class and get access to a darkroom, so you can develop them yourself.

An ex-girlfriend worked at a photo lab, and they do indeed call the police when they see "creepy" pictures. And this was a small, "indie" photo place, mind you.
posted by interrobang at 7:32 PM on November 2, 2005


I realize there might not be laws againt it, but seems like printing a second copy and keeping it should be illegial. I wonder if there would be a market for an online photo lab which guarentees not to do such? Obvious child porn and suchlike falls into a different catagory.
posted by edgeways at 7:40 PM on November 2, 2005


Ask your ex to print them. That way, if she sees them and changes her mind, she can weed out what she doesn't want made public.

Plus, how-to becomes her problem. And whatever she sends you is totally guilt and creep-free.
posted by Sallyfur at 8:01 PM on November 2, 2005


Sure, it may be illegal; theoretically, the pictures are copyrighted material and are the property of the photographer. Unfortunately, such is no guarantee someone won't make a copy just for him or herself, since the person responsible for ensuring illicit copies are not made is almost always the same person with the ability to make illicit copies. It's the honor system, and it's a lot like denting someone's fender in an empty parking lot--you're supposed to leave a note, but if no one saw you, well, who's to know?

I'll also go on to say I know from personal experience photo lab techs are not the only ones who keep a "best-of" customer image collection. Radiologists and X-ray technicians do it, too.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:07 PM on November 2, 2005


Welcome to democracy in the 21st century.
posted by SpecialK at 7:09 PM PST on November 2 [!]


21st?

posted by Stauf at 8:37 PM on November 2, 2005


I, like everyone else, don't have an online service to recommend, but I will second bonheur on Walgreens. I have never and would never try at a Wal-Mart, but Walgreens has done a few rolls of Mardi Gras pics for me.

Oh, and you're not weary of taking them to Wal-Mart - unless you've taken so many there already that it's worn you out. You're leery of it.
posted by attercoppe at 8:44 PM on November 2, 2005


Or wary.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:59 PM on November 2, 2005


Once upon a time I'm pretty sure there were photo labs that specialized in discreet developing. Maybe they still exist?
posted by aramaic at 9:23 PM on November 2, 2005


Wal-Mart is not to be trusted. Quote from the link in this letter: "An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service."

The student in question had "taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb’s down sign with his own hand next to the President’s picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster."
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2005


Or wary.

Or chary.

Thanks for the heads-up, SpecialK. Always something to learn on AskMe.
posted by Aknaton at 10:03 PM on November 2, 2005


Hi, I'm your friend Google.

There are a lot of mail-order places that specialize in "adult" photos (though yours sound more r-rated than x). I can't recommend any of them personally, because I take polaroids, like Japan told me to. But I know they exist, outside of the google search, because I've gotten obnoxious spam for them.
posted by klangklangston at 10:13 PM on November 2, 2005


A note on self-development: it would be rare to learn color print developing in an intro photog. class. Further, it is harder and requires more precise technique and equipment than black and white, which is what I think most intro. film classes teach.

So while the asker probably won't go that route anyway, unless he took black and white shots, it'd probably be fruitless, unless he has time to devote to more than one class.

I bet a your local pro lab with dip and dunk processing (which is the best, and thus indicative of being a real pro hang out) would be your best bet. Why? Because artful nudes would be damn common there, so your boobie pics probably won't elicit much interest. And they are probably much better about not taking copies, as so many of their patrons make a living with their pics, and would thus be much more prone to suing should something get out. So even if they do keep copies, they'd have to be discreet.
posted by teece at 10:35 PM on November 2, 2005


Stauf - yes, it's the 21st century.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:04 PM on November 2, 2005


That's gotta be a joke. I can't imagine any photo lab having the spare time to keep up a mail correspondence to the FBI just for a pic of a gun.

Some are required to, and the FBI pays for the mailings. We had to file a report at one lab I was at every single time that we printed a picture of a nude child, more than one gun, or a gun being pointed at someone, and any potential drug use whatsoever. We had a postage-paid envelope that we had to drop them in, with a small form with the customer's name and any other info we had. It was not an optional policy and employees were fired if they did not follow it.

Welcome to democracy in the 21st century.
posted by SpecialK at 7:09 PM PST on November 2 [!]


Pay with cash. lol!
posted by angry modem at 3:12 AM on November 3, 2005


As someone who worked as a photo printer in a mini-lab, I can attest to the fact that I routinely made extra copies of interesting or bizzare photographs for myself. However, I, and all my co-workers, never kept any nudes - we kept the strange and off-the-wall.
Was it legal? Probably not.
Did I ever call the FBI? Never.

Never in the five years working as a mini-lab printer (at various labs, owned by different compaines) was there ever a stated policy about turning photos over to the FBI, Secret Cervix, or local gumshoe. All we ever did was have a little chuckle at some nudie pictures, and that was that.
Only on one occassion did we confront the customer about some questionable images. He claimed to be a "fashion photographer" and always brought in roles of young teenaged girls. They were always really creepy, so my manager asked him to just bring in proof of age.

Really, most seasoned photo professionals have seen all sorts of nekkid photos, and we really don't care either way. We've seen most all of it, and another couple of mammaries aren't worth hanging on to. Your best bet is to find a good pro-lab in the city or town you live in. Call some wedding photographers or some local photo-pros - pretend like you're starting out as a hobby, and you want to know where they take their film. Their answer will give you a lab in town who will be committed to giving you your film without any hassle.
posted by itchi23 at 6:58 AM on November 3, 2005


Stauf -
Yes, 21st. The 20th century was back in the 1900's. If people talk about the 1800's, that's the 19th century. It's because the first century started counting at 1, so the century starting with year 100 is the second, etc.

posted by raedyn at 7:05 AM on November 3, 2005


Go to a pro lab. Or ask around at local 'love shops' and porn stores. Sometimes they have photo labs expressly for this purpose.
posted by raedyn at 7:07 AM on November 3, 2005


Here's what I'd do (and maybe you have): ask yourself how/why it's important to have these photos and what it's worth to you. Is it worth not having them at all? Then take them to a local place where they might be confiscated. Is it worth the risk of having the privacy of your ex (potentially) compromised? Then take it to a commercial place.

If those risks are too much and you still really badly want to have these photos then you should do it yourself. Get thee to a local library. Get your librarian to help you find a really good book on color photo processing. This is actually a good time t do this because those are exactly the type of books that are still going to be on the shelves of library.

Buy some chemicals while you still can and process your own negatives. Then scan the negatives and you're done. The cost for the chemisty and equipment will probably be about $30, but hey you might get a new hobby out of it.
posted by plinth at 8:00 AM on November 3, 2005


Stauf -
Yes, 21st. The 20th century was back in the 1900's. If people talk about the 1800's, that's the 19th century. It's because the first century started counting at 1, so the century starting with year 100 is the second, etc.

posted by raedyn at 7:05 AM PST on November 3 [!]



That needed to be explained to someone?

posted by sic at 8:09 AM on November 3, 2005


No, it didn't. My point is that that kind of policy was already widespread before the 21st century ("way back" in the last few decades of the "1900's"). Thanks though.
posted by Stauf at 8:37 AM on November 3, 2005


Unfortunately, I know people that still don't get that. No offence intended.
posted by raedyn at 8:48 AM on November 3, 2005


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