Found Film: Bavaria Gefundene Film: Bayern

Recently, while checking out some of the more interesting shops in my new Munich neighbourhood, I found myself in a particularly large, and esoteric, second hand shop. Despite being tempted in by an amazing display of antique bier stiens, (that will be good for presents for a long time to come!) I happened upon a shelf of old cameras. As usual, most of them were junk, and the sundry parts that had been thrown in with them had all seen better days. However, as I dug deeper, I found a couple of old Kodak Instamatics. As the Instamatics were so simple, these ones were still in decent working order. But of course, they were built around the now unavailable twelve frame, square format, 35mm instamatic cartridge films.

I rummaged some more. All the way at the back, neatly in the corner, I found a leatherette wrapped black oblong. I opened up the case to reveal a nearly perfect Kodak Instamatic 50. One of the earliest models. I clicked the shutter: It worked. I cranked the lever: All good. And then I turned it over, and through window on the back: Gold!Well, slightly off-white actually. But I could see that there was a film in side. I fired the shutter again and cranked the winder: Nothing moved. The film was finished and wound into the cassette. So, €5 later I was the new owner of a worthless, functionaly defunct camera*.

...and an unexposed film of unknown vintage.

I'd found a another film in a charity shop camera a few years back and learned the hard way how damaged and fickle, expired Verichrome can be. (Those images are here) So I did my research on how to break open the cassette *(It turns out they can be re-used, more on that later hopefully) and how semi-stand processing in dilute Rodinal (1:100) for an hour at ~19 degrees could be my best bet. One hour and 15 minutes later (5mins wash, 5mins fix, 5mins wash) I un-reeled the film and held it up to the light……

Yes! Ten scannable negs

I resisted the temptation to get the hairdryer out, hung the film in the shower up and went for a walk. Then I came back and scanned each cut strip (Epson V700 & Lomography Digitaliza @ 6400dpi, 16bit Greyscale) into Lightroom. Frames 1, 2, 3 and 4 were no use, just blank or blurry shots of a non-descript road surface.

Frames 5, 6, and 7

From the age of camera, these are probably sometime after 1963. The car in the background of Frame 5 feels about that age. They're presumably a local festival of the sort that is very popular in this part of the world. (Interestingly between frames 7 and 8 the film turns upside down. To me, this indicates that the film was used in two different cameras and changed over by someone who knew what they were doing. There are no lost frames or light bleed)

Frames 8, 9,10, 11 and 12

I have no idea! Frames 5-8 are awesome in their costumed strangeness, and frame 12 is was I expected to find: a spontaneous family shot lost to time in a old camera. But random nun's and a procession of boys wearing knitted, horned masks leading a decorated cart containing small children through a farmyard ?


Now, as I've mentioned, I'm not from these parts, and the few Germans that I have asked about these are as clueless as I am. So if you've read this far, please share this and/or contribute to what you think could be going on in any of these images. I am genuinely intrigued by what I have found. I will of course update with anything I discover that sheds light on any of the frames above.

Update#1: Apparently, with some changing back fiddling, it is possible to re-use my (slightly) broekn cartridge and reload my no-longer-defunct camera with modern film. Thanks to the Lomography Site for that info. https://www.lomography.com/magazine/44732-recargando-tu-carrete-de-126-con-pelicula-de-35-mm


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