WORKING -- Olga Garcia

-- 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.


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.


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."

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World