I don’t use a flatbed scanner to scan film negatives. I use a digital camera and a light box (you can read more about that in my post on developing and scanning). One big feature of this method is that I preserve the frame of the negatives, including the sprocket holes on 35mm film. With a regular scanner, the film holder masks most of the image borders to hold the negative.
I thought nothing of this benefit until I read a passage written by Eric Meola in his book on shooting Springsteen’s Born to Run album cover. For this 2006 book, he says he had to borrow a $50,000 scanner from Kodak and use an oil immersion holder to minimize dust and scratches on the negatives. We have it easy in 2018 - great quality scanning no longer requires you to remortgage your house.
I’ve started offering local black and white film developing, along with scanning, and first-time clients love seeing the full frame of each image. It adds some credibility to the ‘realness’ of your film shots when the film frame says ‘Kodak’ or ‘Ilford’ instead of ‘Unfold’. It shows that your work was recording light rather than 0s and 1s.
This Eric Meola book is a fantastic insight into how the album cover was shot, and just like the Magnum contact sheets book, shows the process of working the scene and all the rejected images.
And here is a fun fact for those thinking digital photography was the birth of ‘spray and pray’ - Meola shot 700 frames in 2 hours on 35mm film in 1975. His winding thumb must have been on fire!