Eric Ambler, Epitaph for a Spy.
Originally Posted by BrianShaw
David, the fact that you even bring it up for discussion shows that you have a conscience, and that you care about the privacy of the person that you bought the camera from. Nobody is perfect, and I don't think what you did was substantially wrong. If you have her address just send the film back. If not, and she doesn't reply within a year or so, just discard it.
Would it have been better to hand her the unprocessed film? Sure. But you didn't, and it's not the end of the world. You offered to send the film back to her, and she didn't respond. That says to me she isn't that interested after all. If you need to explain yourself, it's probably best that you thought it would be a nice thing to do, to process the film for her, but on second thought you regret doing so. If she can't find it in her heart to forgive you for processing her roll of film for free, and offering to send it back, then I think she's the one that has a problem, and not you.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
I purchased a Baby Rollie 4x4 that had a exposed roll so i decided to process it.. I emailed the seller the images and he was very happy to see the images of himself taken on a hiking trip when he was a much younger man.. You did the correct thing, there was no invasion of privacy..
I would leave the film unprocessed and contact her about her roll of film. If she doesn't respond, I'd just throw away the film. You're not really obligated to tell her about the film because it's really your property.
"Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
I bought cameras with film in them a number of times. I'm "presumptuous and thoughtless" enough that I tossed it. I don't care if the film depicts Sasquatch, I can't be bothered.
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What about Nessie?
Originally Posted by artonpaper
I've got a few portraits in 5x4. Not showing anyone though.
Originally Posted by BrianShaw
If you have the opportunity, offer to either return the film unprocessed or, if you are so inclined, offer to develop it for the person and share any results.
In a lot of cases cameras like this actually belonged to deceased or incapable relatives and sellers are appreciative of the opportunity to discover what is on the film.
If you get no response to the offer, do what you wish.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
david, just throw the film out. its not worth the trouble.
Originally Posted by tkamiya
i know what you mean, it's a leap of faith.
over the years i have bought people subscriptions to apug
... i knew they had limited means &c ...
one of these people tried to have me expelled from the website
for being nice ...
Very interesting how this ran the full gamut of opinion and quite telling just how differently we all think. I did not 'suffer' from my seeming omission here but I did want to run this by just to see what you would have done. This incident was over a year ago and the film is long gone into the incinerator.
More than the specific incident is the mindset that runs from 'you did serious wrong' to 'you did nothing wrong'. And I am sure that each can make an honest case as to his/her respective position. I feel no lingering guilt here: my intentions were noble (albeit just a mite curious). In essence, it is no big deal but I would not do that again perhaps.
Thomas Bertilsson, I think, gave the best overall answer as his covered all ground without polarizing the situation. However, I do thank you all. And, of course, further comments on this ethical question might also shed new light upon our habits as humans. We are revealed not only by our actions but also by our reasons for such. - David Lyga