The hidden message in my old film

I’m sorry, but if I’m going to go to a college reunion, I’m bringing the cameras. And if I’m bringing the cameras, I’m bringing the film. And since the price of fresh film is rising every day (I’d blame Joe Biden, but last I heard he wasn’t the President of Kodak), I’m checking my stash of vintage film – you know, the stuff that’s chilling in my freezer.

I mean, what else would you put in a freezer?

I currently have two rolls of Kodacolor II 616 film – 70-millimeter color film that can be developed in C-41 – and if I can get good images from this stuff, I’ll be very happy. I took one roll with me to my reunion at Hamilton College; with the idea of shooting what I could and seeing if I get anything reasonably tasty out of it. Expiration date is 1986. In other words, this film essentially passed its true effectiveness 36 years ago.

Honestly, this was the best shot of the batch.

Hamilton College Chapel in Kodacolor II (expiry 1986). Shot with AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera. Photo (c) 2022 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

So this shot is … well … okay. In all honesty, I could still use this film for experimental shots, maybe even something down the road. In other words, it’s fresh … sorta. You know, like opening a carton of milk and reading the expiration date as “Use before January 1st,” but you read it as “Best if used before January 1st.”

But see if you notice something in the background of this picture. Look in the sky. Do you see what looks like skywriting in the sky?

No, I’m not talking about the red text that clearly says KODAK SAFETY FILM. Not that.

Well, maybe it’ll be clearer if I flip the picture 90 degrees on its X axis AND 90 degrees on its Y axis. And even flip the picture into a black-and-white high-contrast construct.

Like so.

Look in the lower right corner of the photo. You can make it out. It says KODACOLOR. And in the lower left corner … you can see the number 15.

That’s right. After 36 years, the rollfilm – in storage, mind you – actually picked up the ink from the paper backing. Not only does this film have the Hamilton College Chapel spire, it also identifies what type of film was used. Wowie. Did not expect to see that in my picture.

Then again, with half the buildings being renamed or rebranded since the last time I attended old Ham Tech …

I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Chapel was now the Kodacolor Chapel. Or the T-Mobile Chapel. Or the Liberty Mutual Chapel.

Pay the money, name the building. Isn’t that the way on campus these days? 😀