Saturday, May 22, 2010

Guest Programming From the Past

Here's the story of a roll of film, as I best I can piece it together with all the skills I learned watching Quincy.

I purchased the roll of exposed Plus-X, so I have no idea what kind of camera it was in, other than it being a 6x9. Judging by the thick paper I figured it was from the 40s or 50s.

Here's the first shot:

I think I attract snow. This is like the third vintage exposed roll I've developed and had it end up being a snow scene. I had to really push the contrast to get some detail in the mother's (presumably) face. It's like the center of the film is brighter overall. I'm not sure if that's aging, or maybe the way the film was curved in the metal spool. Oh and that line up above is because I screwed up loading the film. Luckily it was virtually right between frames. I've been having trouble loading up my steel reels lately. I've lost the magic touch (that almost sounds like it could be a song...).

Next we have mother holding up child for all to see:

The mother really is pretty. I'm wondering if she isn't pregnant underneath all that overcoat.

I'm not sure the woman in this shot is the same one (if it was taken on the same day), since she's clearly wearing different shoes:

The car is a 1950 DeSoto Custom, so we know this photo isn't any older than that. I don't know who the man is in the picture, but he's pretty hardy, with his coat off and his shirtsleeves rolled up in the snow. Maybe he had worked up a sweat shoveling and took a break to pose with child. Or maybe grandchild. We may never know.

And then we lose the trail along with their heads. Who knows where the camera was stored, or why the film was never exposed, and we don't have any images until many years later:

After years of disuse, the camera was picked up and this man's picture was taken. Is he related to anybody in the previous pictures? Is he the little child all growed up when this picture was taken? I'm guessing this might be the 80s with the "surf" shirt.

And then they decided to finish out the roll in that ancient camera:

And then it was forgotten about once again, never to be taken in to be developed, until I decided it was worth the risk to buy this loose exposed roll of film, to give an end to its journey through time ("journey through time?").

Now the only way to truly put an end to the story would be to identify the players in the pictures, though that would take a heaping of circumstance. But until then...


  1. Great job on the developing. What a crazy combination of people on one roll of film.

    What is your advice for developing these old rolls of film? I have roll that I got out of an old Brownie 616 and still haven't the nerve to develop long to 'cook' it do you think?

  2. Thank you!

    With this roll I used Ilfosol-3 for 7 minutes at 20 degrees celsius, no presoak. Though I'm always nervous when doing this vintage stuff, especially knowing that this was much older, with that thicker, stiffer paper.

    By the way, I had another triple process roll but got nothing off it.

  3. Thanks!
    Was that triple process roll colour? Somebody mentioned to me that colour film never lasts...

  4. I guess. I mean, wasn't the whole triple print process only for color, or was there one for black and white too?

    I don't have the backing paper anymore, so it'll remain a mystery until I get the next 3x process roll to fiddle with.