Greed and curiosity got me

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by werra, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. werra

    werra Subscriber

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    Long story short: hunt for old emulsions got me by half-accident almost 300 rolls of colour negative film from mid-sixties. At once. All exposed, yet not developed. And what a film!

    Recap from the flickr 'fossilised film' group http://www.flickr.com/groups/fossilised_film/discuss/72157632280252220/ :
    -------
    So there was an expired film lot on the 'bay. From the sixties. So, whynot to try out. On the pictures there were some exposed and not developed rolls visible. Whynot again, no problem to develop them.
    The package arrived today, all good.
    Then came the first shock: it appears that all the films are shot and not developed. So now I have 9kg worth of undeveloped 120 and 135 Agfacolor CN17 from the mid-sixties. Ca 250+ rolls, some not dated, some dated and with location remarks. Lovely.

    gnc01.jpg


    Decided to give a quick 20C/20min C41 shot on some random 120 roll, without the date specified. The backing paper was quite stuck to the film base, not emulsion side. Whew, after some hassle got it onto reel.

    The usual dev/blx/fix routine and opening the can after first washing water to check the result. Then the second shock arrived. The film looks like this (well, after removing the remains of the backing paper) :

    gnc02.jpg

    -------

    And the result scanned:
    8284833669_8b7f0799ea.jpg

    The set of selected images from first developed rolls on the flickr:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/werra/sets/72157632297160348/

    It appears that the films were kept in the basement or some other cold and a bit damp place. 135 metal cassettes are slightly corroded and 120 backing paper is a bit sticky, at times.

    But what absolutely puzzles me, and this would be the philosophical reason for posting this in given forum, is how can such a thing happen at all? I do not know, relatively how expensive was colour negative film back then (there are prices like 3.50 on some boxes, in Deutsche Mark obviously) but someone shot years and years on it, without developing the films. Some rolls even have exact date and place written on the cassette or box. And these are no just some landscape or catography shots, there are people, kids. How come no-one ever asked for those pictures?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2012
  2. VonBismarck

    VonBismarck Member

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    Werra, that is such a unique find thanks for someone else's memories.
     
  3. ArtO

    ArtO Member

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    That's fascinating. I love the pictures. What a mystery you've found.
     
  4. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    Very interesting...hope you'll report what else you find on the films.

    (and surprised that you processed these so easily and successfully...I didn't think that the old Agfa films would work with C41 chemicals?)
     
  5. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    My grandmother, when she died, had about a dozen rolls in a drawer - one of the rolls had a picture of my 4th birthday party! If it is all industrial like the sample, it could be a job that was cancelled and the photographer just didn't see the need to pay for the developing and forgot about them.

    Still, if you have the money or time to develop them, there might be something really interesting. I did 40-rolls of B&W for a guy in exchange for a 5x7 enlarger, some very interesting shots.
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Well, there's a famous photographer (Gary Winogrand?) who had several thousand exposed but unprocessed rolls of film in his fridge when he died. To him it was enough to have taken the picture. Actually developing the film and printing the image was superfluous to him.
     
  7. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I remember hearing that he would purposefully wait to develop film so that the images were new and fresh for him -- with none of the baggage left over from actually shooting the camera. I probably heard this well over 20 years ago, so don't hold me to it!
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    It would be very strange if these are all from one person who exposed hundreds of rolls but never developed any of them. However I suspect that even if they came from one source they were "gathered" together and come from several or probably many sources.

    I bet it might be an interesting story of how these films came to be together if the OP can ever get to the bottom of the mystery.

    pentaxuser
     
  9. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    I do understand how to a degree. For me taking the photos is where the fun is. Back when I shot only film I'd sometimes go out and take photos for the "hell of it". I knew I had noting, but I did it because it was fun.

    I still have a few rolls in a plastic bag that have been sitting in a drawer for nearly 10 years unprocessed - looking at the results above I may as well process them and see if there's anything of interest there...
     
  10. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I think I once read the same thing. I also understand the reasoning. I don't often go more than 3-4 weeks without developing what I shot but, when I do wait to process, the distance from the reason for taking the photo helps me to be more honest (with myself) on whether the image works (or doesn't). When I process quickly, it's not unusual for me to try to force the image into what I had originally conceived. It's the same reason it's a good practice to revisit old negatives/contact sheets. I think we've all had that "how did I miss that the first time" moment.
     
  11. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    I usually gather all of my b/w film for processing at home in a box, and just do it all once a year. I also have some misc. c-41 rolls that are at least 5 years old, I don't know what it is on them so I've never bothered to pay the money to find out.

    As for the find, you never know you might find something really interesting in there. Vivian Mairer's negatives were found in a storage shed sale.
     
  12. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    At work prior to digital, to monitor construction progress we would have our Contract Administration site inspection guys shoot images of the site every week 9in addition to daily construction diary entries), log the film when it was finished and toss it into the filing box. the film might never be processed unless there was a liquidated damages claim due to late completion, or some other contractual mess that needed images to strengthen our case.
     
  13. marriaga4eps

    marriaga4eps Member

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    Could be from a local newspaper or magazine. I'm sure they must have hundreds of roles that went unprocessed for stories that never ran. It may also explain the detailed notes on each canister.
     
  14. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    The graphic design on the film boxes is really pretty.
     
  15. werra

    werra Subscriber

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    Added some more pictures to the set, from 135 as well. To me those look clearly like amateur shots, not newspaper or something else that would be paid for. Just everyday life and events around Tiengen-Waldshut in south Germany, just near Swiss border. According to themes of so far developed pictures I would bet on some young man having the camera with him. Who is probably identifiable by his car, from the German DOT equivalent office.
     
  16. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    They may have been asking for them weekly for years but the chap who promised to develop the films for them just didn't bother.
     
  17. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Holy crap!! I've been searching for this for almost a year!!

    I have a few unexposed rolls of agfacolor CN-17 (Negative Ultra K) and I have thus far shot one of the rolls and plan to shoot the rest. I've been searching for the CN-17 soup recipe to make my own because I was told that C-41 wouldn't work/potentially destroy the film... So what made you choose 20°/20minutes?

    Did you end up adjusting your final times from that?

    Has there been any loss of image since?

    This is amazing any and all details would be very much appreciated...


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. werra

    werra Subscriber

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    Standard C41 at 38C will probably destroy the film, as the original process was run at 20C and almost twice higher temperature could harm the emulsion.
    Agfacolor uses the same process as Orwo 5166 colour did, well the latter copied from the former of course. And as I have developed Orwo NC in 20C C41, I figured it could not go that wrong. 20min time is from various sources, notably PE comments on photo.net 10 years ago or so. Then again, some days ago I got carried away and forgot about the film running on Jobo and developed it for 37 minutes. Luckily without any ill effects, just a bit overdeveloped.
    I use Tetenal 3-bath minilab chemistry with replenishing.

    As long as you are scanning the film, crossprocessing looks fine to me. Trying to wet print could be tricky, have not tried it yet.

    What kind of 'image loss' do you mean?
     
  19. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks.

    I mean latent image fading, like it looks good now then fades away for some incompatible chemistry reason.

    While I'm at it, know if E-6 would work on fomachrome/ORWO chromes? Hehe

    Thanks I will be trying this very soon!


    ~Stone

    The Important Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  20. werra

    werra Subscriber

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    Well, latent image is not that latent at all after treatment in the chemistry. It probably will fade for sure, as all films do. But nothing has changed within couple of weeks yet :smile:

    You will get a bit wicked negative from Orwo UT in the same 20/20 C41.
     
  21. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks! I really am hoping that for the chromes I can keep them chromes and not negatives, but we shall see :smile: thanks! Psyched for this info thanks!!


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  22. Jim Rice

    Jim Rice Member

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    These are so very beyond cool.
     
  23. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Very interseting pictures.

    Jeff