-- Story by Young Chang, photo by Greg Fry
A spectator of good times.
Olga Garcia, who works at the Photo Lab in Costa Mesa, gets to see the
pictures first. Through rolls of film that depict everything from candles
getting blown to diplomas being received, she shares in moments that
weren't supposed to be forgotten.
Baby births are always moving. High school proms have glitter and
frills. She has yet to grow tired of seeing the same Leaning Tower of
Pisa or the Coliseum or Buckingham Palace or even Disneyland over and
over again but through different sets of lenses.
She figures out the stories behind the moments.
"It's nice that we get to see all the pictures," said Garcia, 60.
FUN ON THE JOB
For the past 10 years, the Santa Ana resident has loaded film into the
various machines that play a part in producing a photo. She works the
front register, takes pictures once in a while and chats with customers
about why their occasion was worth snapping for posterity.
"A lot of the customers, we see them grow up, graduate from high
school, it's really neat," Garcia said.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
The career started with her mother, who worked at a photo lab in Los
Angeles in the 1950s. Garcia helped out as a teen and has worked in only
photo labs since. Her own children have continued the job tradition. One
daughter works at a photo shop in Santa Ana, her son does too, and two
other daughters work at one in Fountain Valley.
"It's clean, it's really fun, it's interesting, it's not boring,"
Garcia said of her job.
She doesn't even notice the smell.
"Some people come in and say, I guess, that it smells like chemicals,"
Garcia said. "I'm immune to it."