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Agfa Isola 1: A Thrift Store Find

Second-hand shops and thrift stores can be loads of fun when you find something unexpected. Like an old camera with a roll of film still in it.

I’ve always loved thrift stores and second-hand shops. But unfortunately the store here in Arnhem is not really big on old stuff. Second-hand and used yes, but it’s all very new and modern. So when I was looking up the camera-section the other day I didn’t really expect to find something. But there in a corner on the bottom shelf stood an Agfa Isola 1.

When I picked it up the first thing I noticed was that it still had a film inside. So without thinking I scooped it up and took it home with me. I imagined pictures of people I didn’t know. Frames of people who’ve aged so much over the years, maybe even died. I would have the proof that they existed, smiling faces on a faded photograph.

But first I had to finish the roll. I took it with me to my parents and decided that their colorful garden was the prefect place to take my Isola for a test-drive. But then I noticed that, while shooting, the shutter didn’t respond and I began to wonder if it worked at all. But it had film in it, so it had to work, right?

I finished up the film, got it out and examined the camera and found out that you had to slide out the lens in order for the shutter to work. Bummed for wasting half a roll of film I went to the bathroom, looked myself in the dark and put the film in again backwards. Slid out the lens, and headed outside again.

And then, the film came back from the lab. It wasn’t as spectacular as I’ve hoped. No smiling faces of people I didn’t know, but a film with stripes, spots and cracks. Although I have to admit, I really like the look of the photos.

written by luthien

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.