THE JUST BLACK & WHITE STORY:
Who We Are
In 1981 Portland, Maine did not have any custom photographic processing facilities. Although there was rumor that a color lab was considering opening, there was still a void in a high quality black & white lab. After a considerable amount of market research, David Mishkin opened a lab in the basement of his house in South Portland. The response to this was underwhelming, but with persistence and determination, the business slowly grew. By October 1983, David had to move out of his house and the business was officially opened with the name of "The Photo Finish". During the next two years the business grew locally and it became necessary to add some help in the production area.
It was during this time of rapid growth that a woman had just returned from Ireland with some rare family photographs that were faded and required enhancements and restorations. This was a new challenge and after much testing and research, the basis for our present techniques were formulated. This project sparked the interest and concern for preserving historical and family photographs. Soon after this assignment was completed, a new relationship was established with the Peary- Macmillan Arctic Museum and that was all that was needed to cement the interest with historical photographs and their preservation.
Meanwhile, as the work volume was increasing, there became more need to have highly qualified professionals to produce that work. Because this is a very specialized field, it requires specialists with very unique skills. For example....Joseph Kolko has a degree in archeology and has worked for several mid-west museums. Joe oversees all production and quality control. David Mishkin has a B.S degree in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and has worked as a photographer and lab manager for over 25 years. The Photo Finish went through many changes and evolutions until 1990 when we became incorporated and changed our name to identify more closely with what we do.
Although we still enjoy providing custom processing services, all of us at Just Black & White have a special interest in preserving history. The most important and meaningful work we do is for the museums, genealogists, historians and providing photographic copies for those interested in preserving their family photographs. This now represents over 60% of our work. Our work is no longer confined to Portland, Maine. About four years ago we started advertising in national publications which allowed us to reach clients from coast to coast. In addition, we are now exhibiting and lecturing at regional and national conferences from coast to coast.