20 January 2015

Rescued Film Archive

Archives – we love archives of all types!

Photographer Levi Bettweiser ... recently came across one of his biggest finds so far: 31 undeveloped rolls of film shot by a single soldier during World War II. Bettweiser tells us he found the film rolls in late 2014 at an auction in Ohio.

The article shares many images and there is also a video [5th image down] where he talks about the film and developing it (you can also access this video on the main page of The Rescued Film Archive).  The video runs about 10 minutes and I think you’ll find it worth your time. Besides discussing the actual developing of the film, he talks about using modern digitizing technology to see things that he couldn’t see on the negative with his naked eye. He poignantly states that rescued film is important as it represents “The photographers mark in history and these moments in time were important to me.”

As someone who “back in the day” did film developing with my dad – we too had a kitchen/bathroom film developing darkroom arrangement – it was fun to watch and be reminded of some of the fun times my dad and I shared doing this.  Though I do not develop nor print film anymore, I am still an avid photographer.  I have no pretensions of being particularly skilled at it and I just love the capturing of unique moments in time – moment which will not be repeated ever again exactly the same way (see Ramblings from a train ... using travel as an opportunity to “see” the world as it is now and as it was! which includes photos I took from said train ride)

Any photograph taken through time has the potential to show us a community, an event, people, and much more that are relevant to the story of our family.

This is what makes The Rescued Film Project so invaluable.

The Rescued Film Project is an online archive gallery of images that were captured on film between the 1930's and late 1990's.  Each image in our archive was rescued from found film from locations all over the world, and came to us in the form of undeveloped rolls of film.  We have the capability to process film from all era's.  Even film that has been degraded by heat, moisture, and age.  Or is no longer manufactured.

This project doesn’t actively seek out undeveloped film, it develops found film.

These are all great projects in that they make available to us what was once, in some ways, lost. 

Back in the days of camera film, I know that on more than one occasion I would come across a purchases disposable camera or a retired camera and realize that there was a partially used roll of film with photos taken at some time of some place.  Fortunately, I never disposed of any cameras without making sure they are empty and that is sometimes beyond the photographers control especially if they died soon after, a catastrophe struck, a camera was lost, or stolen (as my daughter's was in Spain several years ago), etc.

This also has relevance today with digital cameras and cell phones and tablets and iPads, etc., that serve as cameras.  If you don’t regularly download your photos from these devices, the images on them can become the equivalent of undeveloped rolls of film left in a camera – they could become lost forever.

Let’s all do our part to make sure that taken images will be available to future generations.

Editor’s Note: Some related posts ...

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