Vintage Exposed Film Found in an Auction


Looking through the antique camera section of MercadoLibre can result in very interesting finds. Sometimes in the shape of uncommon cameras; others, in the form of little windows into the past, and some strangers´ life.

Since I got hooked with Lomography at the beginning of this year, I also got into researching and knowing more about older cameras. It woke up such a passion in me that I occasionally find myself looking at “antiques porn!” No! Dirty minds! I don´t mean intimate pictures of pensioners, but rather, the antique cameras sections of ebay and MercadoLibre.

My inability to resist is the reason why I ended up with a small camera collection (the reviews are coming soon).

You will not only find cameras. Looking around, I saw an expired film roll for sale. Looking at the picture below, I thought it would work on my Diana F+ and I could finally try an expired film.

Reading the description I got a bit disappointed, because it said it was a 116 film, and that it wouldn´t fit in my Diana F+. Anyway, the disappointment didn´t last long, when I saw that the roll had been exposed.

I happen to be a very curious person, and the possibility of peeking through some pictures into somebody else´s life, and trying to know something about the people in the pictures was really tempting. Of course, the seal was broken and the roll was held by a rubber band, and could may well have been fogged. Since it did not cost much, I thought the risk was worth it.

And it appears I won. Out of eight pictures, five came out. Not bad for a fifty years old roll!

Once I had them developed and printed, I showed them to a lot of people. Two friends from Mar del plata, Argentina, claim it´s the Mar del Plata dock, and that it still has the same rail.

The military ships confirm it is Mar del Plata, because there is a naval base right next to the dock. I love their attitude. It seems that they´re taking a stroll, specially him, with the hands always carelessly in his pockets. According to a friend of mine, who used to be a wardrobe assistant, his tie indicates this was in the ´60s, which seems to be confirmed because the production of the Kodak Verichrome Pan 116 started in 1957.

I wonder what frigate that is. Could it be the Sarmiento that is now permanently moored in Puerto Madero, in Buenos Aires, and serving as a museum? The two guys in uniforms that can be seen blurred on the left side give me the creeps… It looks like they are foretelling what would happen with the country a few years later.

The photographer finally showed his face! Why do I assume this man is the owner of the camera? Easy, the only two photos he appears in are the only two out of focus.

There´s a lot of people in the dock that day. Is there some special occasion?

The paper backing has some symbols that I understand were used by Kodak to indicate the year and factory of production. Unfortunately, the only reference I can find is about 35mm and the symbols do not match. What I could determine is that it was manufactured in Rochester, USA.

Do you recognize any of the people in the photos? It would be really nice if we could locate any relatives of this couple, or of the owner of the camera, or even the kids in the last photo. Help me, show them around. I´m sure we can find someone and they will appreciate it.

written by etxenike on 2011-08-31 in #lifestyle


  1. naomac
    naomac ·

    What a great treasure you have found, love it.

  2. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    This is a TREASURE!!!! WOW!!!! lucky! :D

  3. stephen_jacks58
    stephen_jacks58 ·

    I love this story - a testament to the curiosity and altruism of human beings. I hope you find the photographer's relatives - but if you don't, why not use work like this to set up a little museum of lost or disembodied images?

  4. stickyvinny
    stickyvinny ·

  5. etxenike
    etxenike ·

    @stephen_jacks58 That is a very interesting idea..... I will keep hunting for old exposed films.

    I wish the spanish version of this article was published already.... If people from Argentina don't see it, it kinda defeats its purpose...

    I just found that this article has been reposted on a lot of different websites. It's curious that only one of them had the decency of asking me for permission first...

  6. johnccc
    johnccc ·

    Amazing !

  7. welland
    welland ·

    Great article! I hope you find something out!

  8. lucylucy
    lucylucy ·

    I was looking through the "Mar del plata" tag and I'm amazed by these old photos. The first one is beautiful!

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