August 11, 2017 / By tracy mikulec / In Photo Lab Blog

A found film mystery from a Central California thrift shop

We want share a compelling story from The Darkroom customer, Josh Bohart. Josh was recently featured on a local ABC10 news segment because he bought a Argus C3 (aka “The Brick”) camera from a Goodwill Thrift Shop in Folsom, a Central California town. When cleaning the camera, he was surprised to find it loaded with a half exposed roll of Tri-X Pan film. Curious about the contents, Josh sent the film to The Darkroom for developing. He was amazed by the photos (and we are too), quickly realizing he has a duty to find the people in the photos and reconnect them with these lost memories.


Use your social media power to solve this mystery and helping Josh reunite this family with their memories.

See photos and more about his story below.


See local news abc10 video segment


Josh created a Facebook page where people can discuss the photos and submit tips:
facebook.com/FoundFilmMystery


Learn more about developing old rolls of film

Excerpts from ABC10 News

Josh Bohart, an old camera enthusiast, wants to find the people in these images. The 18-year-old Folsom Lake College student has a hobby of collecting cameras. Frequenting local thrift shops where he often finds cameras, he recently bought an Argus C3 camera for under $8 to add to his camera collection. “Whenever I go down to Goodwill, I find cameras, and then as soon as I get home I will do research. I’ll watch videos on how to use them,” Sometimes, Josh said, he finds film inside his purchases, but the film he found in the Argus C3 was different. The roll of Kodak film looked dated – vintage.

 

“I went to clean it, opening the back and saw film in it, and it quickly – I had to close it because of the light. I was like, ‘Oh no!'” he recalled.

He sent it to a company called the Darkroom, located in Southern California, which specializes in developing old film.

“They will process your film and they give you the scans back,” Bohart explained. “Like, a week later, I got the scans back. I saw the first photo, flipped out, ran downstairs, told my mom, ‘Oh my god, look at these!’ right?”

What the company sent back to him sent shivers down his spine: 20 family photos in remarkably good condition for sitting undeveloped in a camera for more than 50 years.

“I was just amazed that this thing had captured great photos that stayed basically how they were 50, 60 years ago,” Bohart said. “The ones of, like, the girl and her father or uncle, I’m not sure, that one looks like it was taken yesterday, and it’s just fantastic how a camera like this could kind of, like, seal those in a box and keep them safe for all this time.”

Clues in the photos point to the time they were taken: Bohart guesses around 1960, give or take a year or two. Two girls are pictured sitting on a John Deere 630 tractor, which according to TractorData.com was manufactured between 1958 and 1960. The tractor in the photo looks relatively new.

Also, two of the girls are wearing cat-eye glasses, fashionable in the 50s and 60s. The Argus C3 would have been a widely used camera during that time as well.

Bohart’s mom Cindy Bohart said when her son saw the photos, he knew what he had to do.

“Josh just kind of lit up and said, ‘We need to find the owners,'” she recounted to ABC10 News. “Our first thought was, ‘Wow, these belong somewhere – not in an old camera, not somewhere where they’re just going to be thrown out into somebody’s Goodwill bin.'”

Now Josh is asking for the public’s help in identifying the men, women, girls and boys in the photo.

“Those kids in those photos are probably still here. I need to find them,” Bohart said. “Because it would be amazing to hand them these very, very cool family photos, because back then you only had film. There was no digital, so what if those pictures of their mother, their father, their grandfather, what if those were really the only ones that they had?”

Since Goodwill locations will spread out donations among multiple stores, it’s unclear whether the camera was donated at the Folsom Goodwill or elsewhere. Even if it was donated at the Folsom Goodwill, that doesn’t guarantee the photos were snapped anywhere locally.

“That is the biggest problem with this because these could’ve been taken in, like, Oklahoma or who knows where,” he said. “I will not stop until I find them because it’s just like, it means so much to me because they deserve the photos.”

If you think you might know the people in these pictures or have a clue about the location, Bohart created a Facebook page where people can discuss the photos and submit tips.

7 responses to “A found film mystery from a Central California thrift shop”

  1. Adam says:

    I found a roll of Kodachrome-x in an argus c3 I bought at an antique store. I can’t find anyone to develop it though!

    • Daniel keating says:

      Old kodachrome can be cross processed as B&w in developers like d76, rodinal or diluted paper developers like dektol. Home made developers can be used made from coffee, vitamin c and wash soda…I still develope film at home

  2. The picture of the man with the open car door shows a 1958 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 two door sedan. It was one of Harley Earl’s designs for the 50th anniversary for G.M. It was one of the Golden Five as G.M. put it..

  3. Kenny Harrelson says:

    The guy leaning against the open car door is holding what appears to be an Imperial Mark XII Flash camera.

  4. wcareyphoto says:

    if I’m not misktaken, the photo of the two boys standing in front of the car, it appears that its a late model Chevrovet Corvair somewhere in the 1965 – 69 model years. So these images most likely are form the mid-1960s rather than around 1960. I noticed the Corvair immediately when I saw it. My father had one in ’68 that looked just like the one in the photo. And from looking at the farm photos, I’d have to say that it appears to be somewhere in the South, like Alabama or Mississippi where homes like the one in the photo where extremely common. Just an observation…

  5. Fenton B Sands says:

    Very interesting. I sure hope you find them. I also come from a black family and I have negatives my father took back in the perhaps the ’50s and ’60s I’d like to check out. I might approach The Darkroom (?).

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