Amateur investigates 50-year-old mystery film
November 24, 2005
An enthusiast who found a 50-year-old roll of exposed film among items he bought on eBay discovered that the pictures it contained were still intact when he processed it.
When Mike Ellis used the online retailer to buy a ?photographic job lot? from New Zealand he had no idea it would contain an exposed roll of now-discontinued Ilford Selo film, which he found housed inside a ?Leitz reloadable cassette?.
He quickly contacted Ilford Photo who explained that it was Selo Extrafinegrain Panchromatic film which went out of production around 50 years ago.
Curious to find out whether the roll contained any salvageable images Mike dashed into his darkroom and ran it through a bath of Ilford ID-11 developer.
?Although the film was very tightly rolled – and was showing what appeared to be emulsion cracks – I was able to process ten usable images,? said Mike. He added: ?Judging by the cars featured in the images ? which show a campsite ? I estimate these were shot in the 1950s or possibly earlier.?
Mike then ran the pictures past Ilford Photo?s director Simon Galley who said: ?Selo-branded film was first manufactured in 1938 but I don?t know exactly when it was phased out.
?However, that particular roll of exposed film has obviously been lying in the cassette for over 50 years and ? given that it has also probably been in the southern hemisphere all that time – I am amazed that any images were recoverable.?
? For the full story keep an eye out for future issues of AP