Accidental double exposures

So. I made a discovery and made some mistakes with a roll of expired film I shot. But for you to understand, I have to give you some background details.

In November 2020 I bought a Pentax ME from my local second hand store with an expired roll of Kodak TMax 400 still inside. Right before I discovered the film I had made two exposures in the store to see if the camera worked. So with the film counter only showing two pictures taken I thought I had gotten a free roll of unexposed film. According to the cardboard piece in the memo holder the film was put in the camera on January the 2nd, 2004.

When taking the ninth exposure with my new combo the camera seized up and I decided to retract the film into its cartridge before starting to attempt a fix. A moment later it sprang back to life. Apparently the camera’s auto exposure mechanism had decided a shutter time of several seconds and I, more used to fully manual cameras, mistook it for a mechanical failure. Anyway I went home, retrieved the film leader out of its cartridge and reloaded the film. In a dark bathroom with the lens cap on I advanced to the ninth frame to continue shooting another day.

After finishing the roll I developed it in Ilford ID-11 (1+1) at 10:15 minutes, agitating for 10 seconds in the beginning and for 10 seconds every minute.

So, now that you know I can continue.

When I hanged my newly developed negatives to dry I discovered photographs that were foreign to me. When scanning them a day later it dawned on me that what I thought was an unexposed roll of film was actually already exposed by the previous owner. And in the process of shooting it I had accidentally created several double exposures ruining the original images. I was very disappointed with myself.

Double exposure created by Skoge Farman and an unknown photographer.

Later I had a closer look at my Pentax ME and discovered that the film counter had been broken all along. 

Luckily some of the original pictures survived. Because of their age and bad storage condition I had to put in some work in correcting contrast and brightness and to remove dust and scratches.

Taken by an unknown photographer.
Taken by an unknown photographer.
Taken by an unknown photographer.
Taken by an unknown photographer.
Taken by an unknown photographer.
Taken by an unknown photographer.
Taken by an unknown photographer.
Taken by an unknown photographer.

Last time I found some old photographs I didn’t have any clue as to their owner but this time is different. You see, on the back of the camera’s half case was a sticker with the previous owners name, address and phone number. So I know who these photographs belong to and it so happens that this person lives quite close to me. But there’s just one thing standing in the way for me to return them to their previous owner. My fear of strangers.

I have been thinking about this for months now and even though everything is ready I just can’t muster up the courage to reach out. So I bring this story to an unsatisfactory end. Sometimes things just don’t go how you thought they would.

By Skoge Farman

I am a street photographer based north of Stockholm.

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