So, we had open lab in class today. A “work day” for those of you not presently familiar with the concept of a “lab.” Anyway, most of my fellow students, myself included, didn’t really have much to work on today. I spent most of my time fooling around with scratched negatives, scratching them more, printing them with the wrong color filters, burning them, bitting them, otherwise destorying them. It’s kind of a “grunge art” thing. Anyway, most everyone was slacking off and doing nothing interesting. A few kids were printing for something called the “print exchange.” The PE is actually something really cool that us photokids do. Basically we sign up on a list and say that we’re willing to make prints. The concept is that everyone that signs up gets prints from everyone else that signed up. For example, this year there were 24 kids doing it. So, each person prints 24 prints (including one for themselves) and then at the end of the semester, you trade prints with the other kids. The cool thing you have to realize is that most of the people that are doing this are “fine art” photographers, and mostly seniors and juniors. So, you’re getting VERY good prints for basically free. I neglected to get my name on the list this year simply due to time contraints, but next year I’ll be all about this. However, this year I’m still getting a few prints. 5 or so people that are in the exchange are also friends in the department, so printing 25 or more prints isn’t that big a deal for them. I’ve all ready gotten two prints this year in exchange for one of mine. I’m rather happy. It’s always nice to get art. It’s also a great way to preserve history, or to be a minor part of it. Think about what would happen if any of these people got famous. Years from now, you’d have one of the only copies of a rare “pre-professional” print from a famous photographer. It would be like owning a copy of Davinci’s sketchbook, or Ansel Adams’ contact sheets. That’s a cool thing. At least in my opinion.