The viewpoint of an American soldier who shot 31 rolls of film during WWII has recently been uncovered for the firs time in 70 years.
When the Rescued Film Project obtained the rolls in 2014 they had the yet to be developed.
“I perceive all the images we receive as being historical,” the developer said. “It doesn’t matter if the roll was shot in the 1990s. I see that as being a piece of history. This batch of film automatically has the weight of potentially being of extreme historical value.”
The rolls of film bear names like “Lucky Strike Beach,” “Boston Harbor,” and “Roll of French funeral,” and some have been wrapped in personal mementos from the mid-40s.
The film this organization receives is often in pieces, with little to no distinguishing identification as to its subject matter or the photographer responsible.
To find 31 rolls of undeveloped film from a single photographer in even relatively good condition is rare, to say the least.
Decades of moisture and oxidization damaged the film. But, as the developer explains, his small home-based operation provides the flexibility to work with variably distressed film. Instead of one bulk batch done at a commercial facility, he can treat each roll with the individual care it requires.
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Still, working with film this old is never easy.
“I might not recover a single image from any of these rolls of film,” the man says.
The development process is finished, but XXX is nervous as he unscrews a canister of film and holds it up to the light. Will it show anything at all?
Enough to shorten your breath.
Dramatic landscapes and collections of people from the 1940s appear in photographs for the first time since they were taken so long ago. A forgotten moment in time is suddenly recalled in stunning clarity.
A picture can tell much more, of course. See for yourself in the video below!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.