Monday, February 6, 2012

Found Film Negatives from the 1940's & 1950's

Image from some of the found negatives.

Saturday I visited a couple of antique shops in St Joseph IL looking for camera stuff.  Didn't find much until I came to a bookshelf piled down with cameras and assorted film items.  Upon a closer look most of the stuff was broken or dirty and priced like the dealer thought his stuff was mint.  The only thing I ended up getting was a box with some old film containers and a 1951 issue of Popular Photography. 

The box with the film containers was wrapped in plastic so I didn't check it out much until I got home.  Once I took a closer look I found that the containers each held at least one roll of developed film.  There also were some rolled-up 35mm film loose in the box.  I also found a few black & white slides which were mostly unmounted. Overall there are probably enough developed film to make a few hundred images.  In the past I have found underdeveloped film in cameras, however this is the first time that I have come across discarded developed film.

Mostly the film is in fair shape.  It has some dust and scratches and some deterioration, however most should be able to give a usable image.  I don't know if these were made by one photographer or by several, or who the people in the images are.  The results I have gotten so far are mostly family type pictures from what I am guessing is the late 40's or 50's. Hopefully, I can get some information about the source of these pictures from the dealer that sold the negatives.  Scanning the negatives looks like it will be a slow process since they have a lot of curling and therefore require some effort to place into the negative holder.  So far I have just scanned a few strips.  A few of the images that were the most interesting to me are in the gallery below.  As I do more of the images and maybe find out more about the source  I will share the results and information with you.
Found Negatives Gallery


  1. Fascinating stuff! I've never heard of anyone finding developed negatives either.

    1. Jim it is pretty interesting to get this look into family life as it was back then. I think there is something about the comfort and naturalness that people often have in such images that makes up for the lack of technical excellence.