Found Film: Bavaria Updated with historic info and places.

Update 1.1: After much searching online I found http://narrenschopf.de A musem dedicated to the Swabian-Alemannic Carnivals. With nothing to lose I sent over the original link to this article, and a very prompt reply said my info had been passed to their resident archivist. Today I heard back, and they delivered way more that I'd ever hoped to find out! I've added the info that I received below each of the scans...

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: "Schellennarr" in Mühlheim an der Donau c.1965. Photographer: Unknown

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)

Update 1.2: Pictures 5, 6 and 7 show a carnival procession (on Monday before Ash Wednesday) in the town of Mühlheim an der Donau. The figures are called "Schellennarr" and are caricatures of traditional mill boys. They wear a suit made of painted linen, a wooden mask, a hat like a hopper of an old mill ("Mahltrichter") and wooden "bells" are attached to the suit. These carnival fools ("Narren") distribute sweets from their white sacks. Such figures and processions are typical for the "Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht", which is quite different from the carnival on the Rhine, e.g. in Cologne. Picture #5 is particularly interesting: At that time normally only the men wore the costumes, the women were spectators. But here a young woman can be seen wearing a costume! (and taking part in frame #7 too ;) This even is still happening and the webpage http://www.schellennarr.de has up to date information on the carnival fool guild ("Narrenzunft") of Mühlheim an der Donau.

Frames 8, 9,10, 11 and 12 c.1965. Photographer: Unknown

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 ?

Update 1.3: Frames 10 and 11 show a Pentecost custom ("Pfingsterles") from the villages in the area of Ehingen an der Donau, a town near Ulm. The images show the "Pfingstwägele" in the village of Grötzingen. The little girl and boy sitting in the hand cart are dressed up as king and queen. The handcart, which is decorated with green twigs is pulled around the village by the boys who have dressed up as little horses; they are wearing horse hoods, which normally are used to protect the horses from flies. As they tour through the village they recite funny rhymes in front of the houses. In return they get eggs, sugar and flour, or some money. These ingredients are baked into cakes for the children to eat later. This custom dates back to the time when some boys had to herd the cattle of the farmers in summertime after Pentecost.

Pfingstwägele in Grötzingen c.1965. Photographer: Unknown.

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 1.4: HUGE thanks to Ilka and Ingeborg at http://narrenschopf.de for going the extra mile and sending over all the extra information. It's way more than I ever hoped to find out about these images :) This only leaves three frames unexplained: two nuns and the family garden photo... Is the boy in the garden part of the procession in Grötzingen? What's the relation to the Schellennarr in the early frames?

Update 2: Armed with my new found German words I found one more image captioned "Pfingstwägele". It's on this site https://www.der-heimatpfleger.de/archiv/hp2_2003/latzma2_2003.html which, I think, claims to be the only transcript of some of the rhymes and verses sung by the chilren as they tour around the village.

Update 3: Apparently, with some fiddling, it is possible to re-use the (slightly) broken 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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