Scanning in Some Unknown Film.

As the Pandemic continues and the reality sets in that I am not really going to be filming any independent movies again anytime soon, I turned to the forgotten and dusty boxes that have been stuffed under my stairs to find something else creative to do. I pulled out a bunch of my old film photography and darkroom equipment which has been pretty much in ‘storage’ since 2015 or 2016

In this box I also have a tub of shot film that I have been carting about for years now. In it are rolls of film that I have shot and have never gotten around to developing. Essentially every time I shoot a roll of film whether it be colour or black & white I stick the roll into the ‘to be developed’ bin where they accumulate and collect dust until I have time to do something with them.

When it comes time to develop some film, either in house for my black and white or to The Lab (used to be Custom Colour but they have long closed) for the colour, I will try to also grab a roll or two from the bin that have been there for a long while. This ‘to be developed’ bin has been with me since 2003 and some of the rolls of film in it have as well. I attempt to do my best when it comes to writing on the rolls what they are, but often after I am done writing push/pull info or Cross Processing instructions there is not a lot of room left on a film canister. So some of these rolls have completely unknown content on them and for years now have just been kickin’ it here in “The Bin”. 

Today I have finally finished developing all the Black & White film from ‘the bin’ and I am only left with some colour rolls that I will drop off at the Lab when I am out and about next! On these rolls there have been many surprises to say the least but the one that had me scratching my head the most was this roll of film 

For a little background on this years ago I was doing a Multiple exposure photo / quote project with my Mamiya and Polaroid backs. 

I followed that up a couple years later with the same project only now on Nikon digital cameras. 

but the limitation with digital was that I had to shoot the second photo before the camera went to sleep aka in close proximity to the computer screen. Being that this was in mid September it all got me thinking about potential Culture Crawl projects & sales opportunities, so a plan for a potential new photo project was coming together.

Basically my thought was I was going to load some film into a camera Preferably a ‘modern’ auto advance camera that can read the invisible marking on the edge of the film and always place each frame in the exact same place, and then load up a pile of photography related quotes on my screen and snap away 36 images and then rewind the film leaving the leader out for it to be shot again and sell it as a pre’quoted jerkwithacamera film. People could buy the film and we together could collectively create something interesting. Seemed like a great idea at the time but I would need to show some examples of the potential outcomes. I would need to do a roll or two and document the process.

This was the basic idea anyway. So grabbed a roll of Kodak T-Max 100 and shot it full of quotes on my Nikon F100, the ‘Modern’ Auto advance camera that I had at the time, but here is where the story gets fuzzy and some… well actually a LOT of sleuthing is involved. 

OK ready…… Let’s do this!

I thought that this pre’quoted roll was just reloaded back into the Nikon F100 and the second exposures were slowly being shot. However around that time the AA battery pack for that camera sadly exploded inside the camera and left it unusable. So loaded in that camera, or least so I thought, this pre’quoted roll remained until now in COVID times when I started going though all my old photo gear, cleaning it all up for either sale or use. I stuck this busted camera in my handy dandy dark box (seriously this thing is AWESOME! I need to do post about it) and manually rewound this film midway though that roll. 

Now also in the ‘to be developed bin’ was a different half shot roll of Kodak T-Max 100 that came (or so I thought at least) out of my old Nikon FG. I had rewound the film mid roll when I sold that camera a couple years back. 

Now these are the only two rolls of T-Max 100 that I recall having in like… well forever… I pretty much always shoot 400 speed film unless there is a compelling reason not to. Now here we have two identical rolls of an odd speed film, that have both been rewound part way through the roll. Are you still with me so far? Great!

Now that the film developing tanks and gear is out, and I have broke quarantine to go to Beau Photo (as a point of how long it has been since I was shooting / developing film, Beau Photo moved to a new location & Barb retired and I didn’t even know until now) to get fresh developer & fixer. I proceed to develop all the black & white rolls of film I have left to do.

I hold the roll that I thought came from the Nikon FG up to the light and there are photos for about 28 of the 36 exposure roll and then the rest was blank. Check. 

Next I looked at the one that I thought came out of the F100 and it has photo quotes on the entire length of the film and there are the second exposure photos on only about three quarters of the roll. Check

Wait… the quote frames and the photo frames were misaligned which is quite odd as the nikon F100 is a ‘modern’ camera with the ability to load film all the exact same way. Next I looked at the actual photo frames…. Who are these people?… What is this a photo of? What the heck is going on here? 

Now If you have ever held a black and white negative up to the light in your kitchen and tried really hard to figure out what was happening in the photo you know exactly what I am talking about. It is foolishly hard to distinguish anything from a 35mm x 26mm negative this way. 

So what I said next to know one in particular as it was 2:00 am and the house was sleeping was “TO THE SCANNER” 

The photos that were on the pre’quoted roll were all taken in front of my building and were really blurry and poorly shot. The second odd bit was that there are people that I can honestly say I have never seen before in my life on this roll. Lastly but not least there were three photos of actors in the very very first 48hour film competition that we did way back in 2015. (go team dudepile)

So at this point I am thinking that I must have given the Nikon F100 to someone and said shoot photos, which wouldn’t be odd for me to do, but why would I have given them a film camera? So many questions. 

Next I scanned in the second roll of film that I was sure came from the Nikon FG and it is mostly a walk though crab park which is was able to pinpoint as the night that I discovered that you can multiple expose digital photos on the Nikon DSLR’s. But that was definitely the Nikon F100…. Look this blog post proves it…. So then the pre’quoted roll had to come from the Nikon FG?…. At this point I went to bed because I was super super super late.  But what came to me while I was sleeping on it was the Nikon FG was a hipster prop in the short film we created that weekend which means Sean had the camera pretty much throughout all the filming, and we were constantly walking around in front of our building and this photos looks like a fuzzy out of focus selfie of Sean. 

So this explains this would explain the photos of Tim setting up the ‘speed dating’ scene set dec…

And the photos of the building and my studio at the time. 

It still doesn’t explain the photos of these strangers but maybe Sean can shed some light on it??? Let me know in the comments what you think. Do you know these people? Did you take these photos?

At any rate the photo quotes mixed with mystery around this roll makes these shots that much cooler than just a fracked film roll, it is now… dare I say it… art!

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