"Mom's Film"

"Memories are tricky things"

I get lots of emails asking about processing ancient films. I'm a sucker for them so if I can help, I volunteer. What has resulted is a big backlog of found films.

The story behind this package is below.

"I wish I could tell you more about the rolls and the camera, but I really don't know.  I remember having one of those Brownie cameras around the house for years (the kind where the flash bulbs sort of popped).  I remember my Mom having a newer kind of narrow camera in the 70's, but I'm thinking this film is not from that - it just looks older.  Memories are tricky things...

I don't remember a lot of picture taking in my house.  I am one of eleven children (4th oldest).  We grew up in the country (me, in the 50's 60's) in northern Wisconsin.  My Mom and Dad had their hands full, so I don't think they thought much about taking pictures.  That's why it surprised us to find these rolls of film.  They might have taken more pictures when we were at our Aunt's and Uncle's or Grandparent's houses.  Anyway, it will be interesting!  I haven't told my brothers and sisters yet that I found you.  They've given up on the pictures ever coming to light. "

- - - -
"I mailed my 7 rolls of 620 film off to you today.  I boxed them and sent them priority so you should have them in 2 to 3 days.
I realized (with a sick feeling in my stomach) that I totally forgot to do something - I meant to take a picture of the film before I boxed it up.
So, I have a favor to ask you.  Can you PLEASE take a picture of the rolls of film before you process them?  May seem strange, but... you know, it would mean a lot to me.  I did write my name on the seals around the film, so there's some identification there.  You know I appreciate all you can do for me in preserving these pictures of my family.   Please let me know as soon as you get them and please take a picture of the rolls of film when they arrive.  Seems silly, but it's like a piece of my Mom went out there without my saving it...  Sorry to be so silly...  just hard to let go, again.
Thanks again,


The rolls were sent from Florida  and the film was very tightly wound onto the spools. The combination of these factors sort of "welded" the film to the backing paper. Not much fun in the dark. I had to feel around
and peel off as much paper residue as I could. If not, the film would never go onto my reels.

I gave the rolls warm baths once they were in the tank. I also agitated them vigorously. Lots of paper fibers washed off using this method.

Verichrome films were my favorite to use when you could get the stuff.  And I do well with found V-Pan. It behaves itself most of the time. Even after all the years.

I only did two rolls. That way I could alter the process for the remaining five if need be. The results from those rolls are below. More to come.

6x9 cm images

Among civilized people,  family is a sacred thing. I think it's the only truly sacred thing. When someone tells you about a member of their family, even if you don't know them, you listen with appreciation. Because, it's family.

The digital camera has lessened the value of a photograph. People run around taking photos of everything. Photographs languish in digital cameras. Nobody cares about them. Getting a roll of eight exposures back from the drug store was an event. 

The concept of a "treat" has changed. Today, treats are easy and commonplace. Not so with these kids. They can't wait for that cake !

End of roll #1


I've rescued many rolls of film over the years and there's a commonality to them all. A sense of time. A sense of vulnerability. They've helped me understand and sympathize with my fellow man.

Edited for the 21st century.

End of roll #2