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  1. #1
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Developing film inside of cameras privately bought

    Some time ago I bought a privately advertised SLR from a local young woman and was satisfied with the purchase. During inspection I noticed that there was a partially used roll of film in the camera but did not think more of this, as I was closely inspecting the camera and lenses. The price was good and my inspection warranted purchase.

    I really was happy with the purchase 'after the fact' and I decided to do this person a favor and attempt to process the film. I did this. They were family photos: different members sitting in chairs and such. However, she did not respond to my free offer to send them to her.

    In retrospect I think that I was presumptious and thoughtless: such photos were really none of my business and I just might have offended her with my 'daring forwardness'. At the time of developing the film I was totally innocent here and was really initially surprised that she did not return the courtesy. Now I honestly feel differently. I should have discarded the film or, perhaps even better, sent the unprocessed film back to her.

    I have a feeling that most viewers of this post will agree with my final decision. - David Lyga

  2. #2

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    Send the unprocessed film back - or return in person, which I have done a couple times - is the most anyone should do.
    Personally, I'd be fit to be tied if a stranger processed and viewed (without my knowledge and consent) images I made.

  3. #3

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    I had sent number of free stuff here on APUG and I even paid for the shipping as I knew the "buyer" had limited funds. After the package was delivered, there wasn't even a word of "thanks" or acknowledgement via emails. I'm quite surprised at this but oh well.

    I will just do what I think is right and in good conscience/faith. People behave in strange and unexpected ways.

    My point being.... you can't do things and make a decision based on what someone might do or think as they can be quite predictable. You only have your own conscience to follow.
    Last edited by tkamiya; 09-25-2012 at 10:42 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4
    Two23's Avatar
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    If the film in the camera was a big deal to the seller, they would have taken it out, or at least said something. Don't sweat it.


    Kent in SD

  5. #5

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    I think you are over-thinking it. I've been in similar situation with "found film". In general I've just handed it over and never thought about it again. In only one situation the person I returned it to actually told me that he had it processed and it was snaps of him and his Dad... long time ago. He was very appreciative. Often, though, there seems no serious interest, or the camera being sold wasn't theirs anyway so they have no emotional interest with the film inside. My inclination is more toward throwing it out.
    Last edited by BrianShaw; 09-25-2012 at 09:46 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo correction

  6. #6

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    "Presumptuous and thoughtless" is too harsh, but I do think it's wrong to develop someone's film without permission. If buying from a private party, you almost certainly have some contact info (phone number or email), and can give them an opportunity to come and get it. If buying from an intermediary (flea market, camera show), then I suppose the right thing to do is destroy it.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    You bought the camera and the film -- it is now yours. To develop, toss out or give back...or to print.

    It may not even be that woman's camera -- or at least not her images. Unless she told you differently, it could be an ex-boyfriend's camera who dumped her but forgot his camera, or whatever.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  8. #8

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    ... the only risk when processing found film is that if you seek professional processing/printing and IF there were something illicit/illegal on the film, then you'd be left holding the bag.

  9. #9
    bvy
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    If a person a.) commits something embarrassing or scandalous to film, and b.) mindlessly gives the film away, then who's the thoughtless one? The film became your property when you purchased the camera. You were free to do with it what you wish. Unapologetically.

    That said, if I noticed it at the time of sale, certainly I'd have returned it. If I picked it up at a thrift store or flea market, I'd have developed it.

    If it's really old film, it might actually have historical value.
    Last edited by bvy; 09-25-2012 at 10:26 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo's

  10. #10

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    I think I'd be intrigued to see the images myself, but would only worry about ruining the process, scratching etc. on the off chance the images had any value - sentimental or otherwise. Who knows what the images could have been? Cartier-Bressons perhaps? But what if they'd been something risque? I suppose the previous owner might have felt it prying, for the latter. If the woman was taking sentimental photographs of family members, or indeed doing something questionable with the camera, she would have taken the film out. Simple as. If she was just playing around with photography, she probably wasn't interested in the photos and therefore wasn't responsive to your courtesy. It's just another one of those social conundrums that photographers often find themselves in - curiosity vs the uptight. Don't worry about it.

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