Greed and curiosity got me
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/fossili...7632280252220/ :
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.
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) :
And the result scanned:
The set of selected images from first developed rolls on the flickr:
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 werra; 12-20-2012 at 12:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Werra, that is such a unique find thanks for someone else's memories.
That's fascinating. I love the pictures. What a mystery you've found.
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?)
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.
Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.
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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.
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!
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can be a good day of exercise.
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.
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...
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.
Originally Posted by Vaughn