Sweet Dreams



Week fifteen has produced serendipitous collages of the old and new; double exposures of recent images superimposed on a roll of expired and essentially dead film that was partly exposed a long time ago. In the image above I love how the kids clothes drain off down the lines of the branches of trees I shot in the cemetery, as well as the way it is divided up. To my eye, it is an exceptional image, even if unintended. I guess it fits into the current thing some people do of shooting a roll of film and sending it someone else to shoot again, but this time there is probably a 15 year gap.

A year or two ago I bought a bag of unexposed film, both 120 and 135, in a thrift store and have been slowly using it up. Some of the film has been a bit stale and produced some grainy colour shifted results, but all of it has worked pretty well. Last week I pulled out a roll of Kodak Gold Super 200 from that stash and loaded it into the Olympus mjuII which I am still evaluating whether I like it, or not. I noticed when loading it that the leader was crimped a bit, but did not think twice about that, and shot off the roll pretty quickly, some in the Ross Bay Cemetery, some along the Ross Bay waterfront and some downtown.

When I went to pick the film up from my local processor (they had a 20 minute turnaround all three times I visited them this week) they said the film was completely fogged and they were not going to charge me for processing. In the store the film looked totally black, but when I got it on a light table under magnification I could see shadows of something lurking in the black so I decided to scan it, because you never know, there might be something interesting. And there was – even though each histogram in Epson Scan was a single nearly vertical spike in the middle of the chart I found that with minute adjustments made within that narrow spike I managed to get something out of the negatives.

It turned out that the roll had been 1/2 shot, then rewound leaving the tail out for reloading, but never reloaded and never processed. In the meantime the film had degraded very badly and was no longer up to recording much information. And so, I found the ghosts of my images superimposed on the ghosts of people from perhaps 15 years ago. Quite spooky, and even more so because one of the choir kids looks just like my son did at that age (it is the only reason, when I think about it, that I am dating these shots to 15 years ago), and he did sing in choirs as well. He recognises none of the other kids so my wife and I have reluctantly decided it is not him, though these faint images are very much like him.

For me, this roll has produced a few gems and really is a good example of what can be found in apparently data-free negatives. All these images are as scanned without dust removal or adjustment other than cropping to the image edge. I cut the film strip as close as possible to the old image edges, which were barely visible. My more recent frames are out of register by about 1/3, so where the film hand not previously been exposed, my shots have become dark and mysterious diptychs.














 Click on any image below to launch larger versions in the gallery view, navigate with the arrows once in the gallery.


The film is Kodak Gold Super 200, commercially processed, scanned with Epson V700 and Epson Scan software.




5 thoughts on “Sweet Dreams

  1. Reblogged this on burnt embers and commented:

    My only post today will be this reblog of my week 15 post at 52Rolls.net. It features a roll of expired film that I double exposed over images made perhaps 15 years earlier. The film is in terrible condition, but some of the images are very interesting. Head over there and have a look!


  2. I love this series! It must be really exciting to work with old film rolls, not knowing what comes out. The colours are just great (had to scroll up to read again, but no, you didn’t edit them). Amazing!


    • Thank you galeriaredelius. As I was struggling with the scanner settings the colours shifted quite a bit. I was aiming to get as much details as possible from the single spike of data and just let the colours fall where they may. I love some of the colours in the clothes of those kids. They came out really well. And the blues too.


    • Thanks Peter. The blue ones are the half roll that was not previously exposed, I like them too.
      They show just how much oomph was left in the film. But, combined over the old shots they work better than a good exposure was likely to have done.

      Liked by 1 person

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