You never know what you might find when browsing through vintage flea markets or “junk” stores, much of the time while rummaging through tons of worthless stuff, you may find yourself lucky and find a useful item or some decor, but every now and then, you come across a real treasure, just like Martijn van Oers, a 40 year old from the Netherlands who’s obsessed with photography did when he recently bought an original Zeiss Ikon 520/2, a folding medium-format vintage camera from a second-hand store.
The camera was built around 1929 and still contained a film role inside of it which had been produced some time between the 40s and 70s, labeled with the word ‘EXPOSÈ’.
Martijin took the film to a friend of his, Johan Holleman, who developed his own film for much of his life. Johan had waned that there was a slim chance of the images being recovered since it was such old film. None the less, they gave it a try.
Developing a 70-year-old roll of film
The film turned out to be nearly 70 year old, and they were very surprised to find photos on the negatives. They scanned them, revealing 4 images contained sufficient detail to gather more information. The camera belonged to a man, who was even pictured in one of the photographs carrying the camera case.
“After putting the images up on my Facebook page, one of my contacts, Wilco, quickly commented that the place looked an awful lot like Biarritz – a city in the French Basque Country in southwestern France. He has been there a lot and thought it looked very familiar. After sending me a Google Streetview image, I was immediately convinced the images were indeed shot in Biarritz.”
“Looking at these interesting photos, I feel I stumbled across a small treasure-chest – or time capsule – giving us a tiny glimpse into the past. It really makes me want to find out who the people in the pictures are. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to hand over these negatives to the descendants of this mystery photographer.”
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