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The lost roll

May 27, 2017

Project No2!

The unknown Photographers lost roll.

Not really a project but more a little story of a bit of fun I had this week. Tom, a friend from work had bought some photography gear from an auction and brought it in to show me. All good vintage stuff but I was quite excited by 3 rolls of unused Ilford HP3, expiry dated 1956 and some film containers. One container rattled! I had a peek and it was a 35mm Ilford cassette marked as the others but exposed. Now, the 3 rolls were marked - open in darkroom, this was odd to me but I did, it was film, cut to 36 exposures but loose! I put it about on twitter and Ilford kindly responded saying it predated sealed cassettes and I should load into reusable cassettes. I checked the used roll and yes! It was a reusable, but sealed with a proper Ilford label. This I think later becomes important.

I decided to develop the roll, I played safe and out of Erik and Craigs eye line I did a semi stand dev in Rodinal. I was excited to say the least to see reasonably clear images, a little fogged and grainy, some were more deteriorated than others but they were there. I scanned and examined, I edited by increasing blacks and contrast etc. I tried to keep their honesty, I liked what I saw, not greatly taken images or anything like that but a look into the past. I then with the help of my wife and twitter friends set about trying to put some meat on the bones of the story. I have to say wifely did most of it!

My first thought was expired 1956, about then maybe, we studied the cars registration plates and the latest was 1959, Glen spotted a number on a train of 53807 and found it was an LMS decommissioned in 1964 so there is our date gap 59-64! Next, where? Lots of speculation but I spotted a grainy sign saying Poole. Frantic googling and yes, it was Poole train station with buildings the same etc. She rapidly pinned down shops on Poole High Street and confirmed it. One shop pops up in almost every shot, a photographic suppliers J. Thomas & Son at 160. I like to think then this photographer was connected to it and would explain why he was using 3 year out of date film professionally loaded! Glen also found out their studio was at 159 High Street making it almost directly across the road explaining his fixed position for the street shots. I like to think he/she was an apprentice practicing or testing but I am just hoping, in truth we will never know.

Why post them like this? Simple, that cassette has been a little time capsule opened 50 years on revealing a tiny snapshot of the past. Street photography as it should be in my view, the cars, clothing etc. invite you to look and think. Take a look yourselves and see if you can pick out anything more. All credit to the unknown photographer, whoever you are.

Click below to see more photos

 
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