Saturday, 12 January 2013

World War I photos found inside antique camera

Photo courtesty of Anton Orlov @ The Photo Palace

World War I photos found inside antique camera

As the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War moves ever closer (a fact I still struggle to fully comprehend, cf. this earlier post) we will doubtless start to see many stories and articles commemorating the centenary.  Will we see one as fresh and remarkable as this, though?

Over the course of this blog we have seen photographs discovered in shoe boxes, in rubbish skips and in long-forgotten archives.  Now we can add an antique camera itself to that list, as this story of another blogger's discovery tells.

If I understand it correctly the glass-plate negatives found inside this 100-year old camera, picked up at an American antique shop, had previously been processed (otherwise we would not have been able to see them today) but then kept in the camera - where for all we know they may have remained ever since.  Certainly this must be the first time they have been seen for decades - maybe even the first time by people other than the original photographer.  We may never know who took them, or precisely when and where in France they were, but the fact that they have survived all these years is welcome enough news.

Photo courtesy of Anton Orlov @ The Photo Palace

Whatever the history of these pictures they couldn't have ended up in better hands. Photographer Anton Orlov, on whose blog The Photo Palace you can see the full selection of images (as well as some equally fascinating and perhaps even more historically important shots of the same vintage taken in Russia, China and Japan), is clearly a big fan of old-fashioned analogue photography. So much so, in fact, that he has purchased an old yellow school bus with the aim of touring America as a sort of mobile museum/dark room - not only exhibiting the pictures and cameras but also giving talks and running workshops on the early techniques that were used, in the hope of ensuring that knowledge of and interest in non-digital print photography is not lost but rather encouraged. 

Both these and the Eastern photos must surely rank among the top exhibits and I wish Mr Orlov every success in seeing through his endeavour to make them a part of his educational and inspirational scheme.


  1. My goodness, that is absolutely amazing! I love reading about stuff like this. What a find! You can tell I'm hopping with excitement, can't you?

  2. That is so great that the film survived. I used to buy old cameras for my Kodak collection and loved it when I found old film. It was great when I processed it and was able to print from it. Sometimes images were fine. Other times the film did not produce anything. I never had anything really interesting or historical though.

  3. Wow, what a spectacular find! Thank you so much for passing this along. I'm glad I found you, I can't wait to explore your blog more tomorrow! Thanks for putting me in your "links" sidebar, it made me smile extra wide:D

    <3 Sara @lilies&remains


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