The reality is each strip of negatives, each envelope is a new mystery, a timecapsule. And I am rather addicted to discovering what is inside.
So I discovered a stray sheet of negative sleeves and decided to go looking through the envelopes in the basket for one holding a single complete roll of film.
135 film rolls of 24 are usually 7 pieces of negative film – a first longer section with a single frame, then usually 5 pieces with four frames and a final one with 3 or 4 frames. And my negatives sheet can hold exactly that many pieces.
(Yes, many 35mm rolls of film end up with 25 images. The interesting thing is most film developers would still only send back 24 prints – the first or last frame would not be printed. Which means a small number of the negatives I am scanning have never been seen before.)
As I was digging through the envelopes I discovered an envelope from Brown Photo Co. of Minneapolis – a venerable photo developer in Minneapolis. And sure enough, it revealed a complete roll of 120 – not 135 – film! in pristine condition, too!
One of the first images is of my mother, and a few more pieces down (120 film, being a medium format, has only 2 images per piece, usually, often only one, but I have once discovered a three-image piece) there was another, and then another.
So many frames of my mother amongst children with scrubbed faces in clean dresses suggests these photos were likely taken by her good friend Ardith Chilson. One or two are under/over exposed, but all-in-all the set are in amazingly good shape – and filled with people whose identities are lost. Some fun, some interest…
And then, treasure. On the last piece of celluloid in the stack there is a fairly close-up photo of my mom, with friends playing with her hair as she looks in the mirror of a compact.