When my father-in-law said that he had found an ancient roll of film that he thought I might be able to develop, I said I would give it a go. It was a tricky task, but the results brought back a moment in family history from 35 years ago.
It was the long hot summer of 1976, you had just bought your family’s first car and one of your car-mad sons wanted to pose in front of it. You load a roll of 127 film into a simple point and shoot camera and snap a few family photos. The car is there and so are cats. A few more snaps of the boys in the garden and the roll is finished. The film goes in bag or a drawer, a cupboard, or a box and there it stays for the next 35 years.
This is where I get involved. When my father in law mentioned that he had found this roll of film and wondered if I might be able to develop it, I knew I had to give it a go. When he handed me the small roll of film, tightly rolled in paper like 120 film, but on a type of spool that I had never seen before I was a bit worried. I knew that my developing reels should be capable of taking 127 film which is what I suspected it was, but as I had never seen this type of film before, I really wasn’t sure. Added to that there was no information on the film about ISO and as it was Boots store branded, I couldn’t even look up original development times for this film.
After a bit of research I took an educated guess and developed it in HC-110 for 9 minutes and was delighted when the resulting negatives emerged from the tank with discernable images on them. Okay, they were pretty faint against the fogging that had built up on the film over the years, but they were definitely there.
Viewing these photos gave me great pleasure; looking over the film with my girlfriend at a slice of her family history that happened before she was even born. The thing that seems strangest of all is the lack of cars in the street which her parents still live in today. Now the same scene would be full of cars parked bumper to bumper, but back then it was the only car in view. Developing this film definitely brought the past into the present for me.