One Man’s Mission to Develop Orphaned Rolls of Camera Film


Back before photographs were as easy as opening up a smartphone and tapping, film restrained some of us in what and when we captured things using our camera.

Hoang Lok from Pexels.

The primary reasons for this is, naturally, that film cost money and most of us aren’t rolling in the dough to waste is on something like that.

But some photographers are luckier than others and they bought and took pictures on more film than they could ever develop or afford to do so. That’s why one man, Levi Bettwieser, has taken it upon himself to develop these orphaned rolls of film. The project is to not only finally bring these pictures to light but also to experience another time and life through another photographer’s eyes.

Granted, not all of the old film reveals anything because some of it has degraded over time. Levi tells the BBC that it all depended on how well someone preserved the film to start with more well cared for film producing quite dynamic pictures while others only produce grainy images.

Some of them though are absolutely amazing, showing scenes from a bygone era. A relatively thankless task we can imagine but also one that is incredibly necessary in this modern era of digital everything. There’s just something amazingly organic and real about film that drives people to do things like this.

It’s also pretty amazing to imagine being so captivated by photography that you take reels upon reels of film without ever developing them. We’ve always said that photography is “more than just taking pictures” and Levi’s work proves that quite conclusively.

What do you think? Do you think this is a pretty cool project? What are your memories of developing film? Let us know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out our other photography news articles here on Light Stalking. You can do that by clicking here.


About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

I just recently started collecting old cameras I purchased from flea markets and was looking into shooting and developing my own black and white film. Upon finding an old roll of 120 film in an old brownie camera I decided to develop my first photos ever from this roll with caffenol, and low and behold it worked. It was a photo of a family posing on the back of a 1958 Chevrolet. Since then I’ve been hooked.

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