It was a lucky day for antiquing for analogue photographer Anton Orlov. Not only did he score the stereoscopic 1901 Jumelle Bellieni camera, he also stumbled upon some century-old slides which turned out to be photos of World War I France tucked away inside it!
Nearly all Lomographers get G.A.S. aka Gear Acquisition Syndrome at one point in their analogue lives. Don’t deny that you were once consumed by the strong desire to purchase/collect/obsess over all sorts of film cameras, trolling eBay, scouring flea markets, digging through Goodwills and what not to get your hands on a new/old gadget.
You could say that Anton Orlov had a bad case of G.A.S. as he recently drove a hundred miles to scavenge an estate sale which had a treasure trove of photography equipment. His efforts were not in vain though as he randomly found a 1901 Jumelle Bellieni stereoscopic camera and thought he hit the jackpot. He eagerly took it home, cleaned it up, and was beginning to play around with it when some parts came flying at him. What he soon discovered could potentially be worth more than the camera itself!
“Inside each film chamber I found a stack of neat little glass plate holders (12 total). While 4 of them were empty the rest contained the original thin plates of glass. The last thing that I ever expected to find though were negative images on those plates! Each of them seem like they were fully developed! … I am completely baffled by this find, but the images were so intriguing that I decided to scan them. While viewing the images in their negative form it was difficult to say for sure what was on each of them, but after scanning them it became clear that they dated back to the First World War and were taken somewhere in France.”
Yes, you’re looking at images that were taken during World War I at the turn of the century, making these images nearly a century old! French soldiers are seen holding up a mass-destructive missile, there are collapsed buildings after bombardment, plus many more which you can find over at Orlov’s blog, The Photo Palace.
Talk about a lesson in history! What’s even more interesting is Orlov’s take on the tangibility and longevity of analogue photos. “Other than fire, very few things can destroy it,” he explained on NBC News. “A hundred years from now, that SD card is going to be pretty useless. I’m just happy to put them out there after them being hidden in a camera for 100 years. I’m just happy to see people enjoying them,” Orlov said.