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This may be a naive question, as I am not familiar with photography using negatives storing the photo images.

So in the film of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", Walter Mitty examines the negatives of photos in the bright sunny day.

How can Walter Mitty examine the negatives of photos in the bright sunny day without destroying the negatives? Is that due to some protection covering the negatives? Or particular materials or chemicals of the negatives? Or other reasons?

p.s. it will be the best that the answer can be more chemistry-oriented, explaining the chemical process.

(photo resources by googling -beware a spoiler for the film):

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enter image description here

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Somewhat relevant (even if the title doesn't seem so): How to tell if a film camera is actually making shots? –  mattdm Jul 31 at 17:17
    
For a more chemistry-oriented purpose, please see: chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/14680/… –  Idear Jul 31 at 20:50

1 Answer 1

up vote 30 down vote accepted

Film negatives are only light-sensitive while in the camera, until they are removed and processed. The processing includes a step to "fix" the image so that the negatives will not be further exposed by light. So once processed, film negatives (and slides) can be handled in daylight.

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To create a print, a negative is placed in an Enlarger, which shines a focused, bright light through it, onto a piece of photo paper. The photo paper is developed, and a print emerges. In other words, the negative is designed specifically for light to shine through it. –  cmason Jul 26 at 22:36
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@ MikeW: Thanks so much MikeW, +1. Are you familiar with the chemical compounds or the chemical procedure that you just describe? :) –  Idear Jul 26 at 23:32
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I used to have a B&W darkroom, so familiar with that process. You would use three chemical baths: developer to bring out the image, a "stop batch" to halt the process, then a "fixer" to make the image permanent. Similar steps in doing the negative, then the print. –  MikeW Jul 27 at 3:33
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@cmason good point. And similarly a positive (slide) is designed to be loaded into a projector and having a bright light shone through it. –  MikeW Jul 27 at 3:36
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Start here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photographic_processing –  MikeW Jul 28 at 1:32

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