While searching today for information on #00 roll film for the Univex AF2, a pocket camera marketed during the 1930s and 1940s, I stumbled across a website filled with images from a project that absolutely fascinates me. Gene M. (who appears to remain otherwise anonymous on his website) has spent the past few years processing the film he finds in old cameras, then printing the images. While there are few “beautiful” compositions among these images, most of which are snapshots of family and friends, what Gene has rescued is gorgeous in terms of nostalgia and lost Americana. In most cases, Gene’s digital reproductions have only been cropped as necessary; he appears to avoid other digital manipulations.

Found image from 1940s Argoflex

Found image from a Kodak No. 2a Brownie, Model B (1907-1933)

[Both of the above images are copyrighted by Gene M. and are reproduced here solely for the purpose of illustrating Gene’s fantastic work in recovering these images from oblivion.]

In a few cases, folks have written Gene to help him identify these lost scenes. Seeing the images excites the historian in me and makes me yearn to identify the rest, to name and catalog them in a frenzy of realization, then reunite these images with their makers or their subjects, even though I know most of these folks are either too old to remember or long since passed.

And Gene’s project is good for something else–if you’re interested in old cameras, he offers you an excellent crash course in the different models, what kind of film they used, and what to look for if you’re shopping for them.

While you’re visiting Gene’s site, check out his other images, too.


~ by ericplaag on September 18, 2008.

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