Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Develop a Roll of Film Left at My House in 1977

I previously mentioned a number of rolls of undeveloped 35mm film I found in my father's boxes of photos. My previous post shows one of the pictures that was taken in 1960 and developed 50 years later in 2010. One of the cartridges was bulk-loaded 35mm with a hand-written label:"Tri-X 1977". Bulk-loading film is when you have a huge roll of film that you load into your own 35mm cartridge. Tri-X was a popular Kodak black and white film and was a common film used by professional and amateur photographers who wanted to develop their own film.

I and my older brother had a darkroom setup at home in Santa Monica in the 70's and we did bulk-roll Tri-X, but this wasn't anything we had exposed as I didn't recognize cartridge type nor the handwriting on the label. So, I had the film exposed 33 years previously developed by Blue Moon Camera in Portland, OR.

The quality of the developed film wasn't high. The contrast was low and they had a crazing pattern, although in some ways the unexpected changes gave a certain aesthetic to the photos. You can find the complete set of photos here.

Most of the photos were of Japan, including a Buddhist monastery:

I've had no luck determining what temple this is.

But I was able to find out that some of the photos were taken in Kurashiki, Japan (discovered through this Ask Metafilter question). Here's the a bridge across a canal (the characters mean "Central Bridge"):

Here's the same bridge a building on Google Street View:

Here's another building on the canal in Kurashiki, and its Google Street View 30 years later:

There were also a few photos of the Santa Monica Pier and one of the front of our house in Santa Monica.

I still have no idea who took these photos. The photographer clearly had skill. The best guess I can make of how my father ended up with the roll of film was that the photographer was a friend or colleague of my father just returning from a trip to Japan, and during a visit to us in Santa Monica finished up the roll film and inadvertently left it at our house.

Perhaps these two photos can give a hint:

A friend of the photographer? Self-portraits? No one I've reached out to have been able to recognize this person.

I end this post with this curious and somewhat creepy image of a room in 1977:

It leaves me wondering: Where is this? What's in the picture frames? What's behind that door? It just adds to the mystery of this roll of film.

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