The mystery of the antique camera film, 2015 edition

One of my blog readers, Dave Stewart, kindly “gifted” me his father’s Argus C3 camera.  Other than giving it a new leather body, and doing some fine-tuning to the mechanisms, I haven’t had a chance to take it out for a shoot.

But when I checked inside the camera… you know it.  Film.  And some of it had been shot.  Or at least it HAD been shot.

Now if you’ve read my blog with any sort of regularity, you know that I’m fascinated by film found in old cameras.  It’s almost as if the original owner had plans to take the camera on a trip, or to a family reunion, or some very special moment.  But somewhere along the line, the camera was lost, or the owner put the camera away and didn’t use it again.

Now I’ve found film like this in the past.  Sometimes the film is so deteriorated that no discernable images can be gleaned.  And nearly six years later, I’m still waiting for Rocky Mountain Film Lab to send me prints on that roll of C22 that I found in an old 127 camera.

Okay, let’s see what type of film this might be –

Oh crud.  It’s Kodachrome.  Which means that I can’t get it developed in all its beautiful color.

But there’s still a chance to get a black-and-white image out of this film.

And that involves a call to Film Rescue International.

Film Rescue International has pulled images from nearly every possible film stock.  And that includes Kodachrome film, which they can pull as a black-and-white image.

Okay… nothing to lose… let’s give it a chance.

A couple of days ago, I received a package from Film Rescue International.  I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Open the package.  The film is returned; it’s nearly blank from end to end.  But the package also contains a DVD… you don’t suppose…

And sure enough, after all the efforts, all the tries, all the chances of hopefully pulling something from an abandoned roll of film…

Film Rescue International was able to secure one single image from the film.

An image that I share with you right now.

Man on kayak.  Shot with Kodachrome film, Argus C3 camera.  Developed by Film Rescue International.  Photographer unknown.
Man on kayak. Shot with Kodachrome film, Argus C3 camera. Developed by Film Rescue International. Photographer unknown.

Do I know anything about this film?  No.  Only that it’s a man in a kayak, riding on the river.  I don’t know if the picture is one of Dave Stewart’s relatives or friends or just a random shot of a kayaker.

But one thing is definitely clear, as clear as blue sky.

After six years of trying… I’ve finally secured an image from orphaned camera film.

And I’ll take that as a success any day of the week.  And it will inspire me to find more hidden gems that are still in mid-roll, film trapped in an antique shelf-residing camera.  They’re still out there.  And I’ll find them.  Count on it.