What happens when you find 31 rolls of undeveloped film that are dated from World War II? If you’re Levi Bettweiser, founder of the Rescued Film Project, you figure out a way to process them. That’s exactly what he did when he came across 3 rolls of undeveloped film shot by an American Soldier in WWII.
Watch as he describes the process of salvaging and hand-developing each roll of expired film in his kitchen. He describes the challenges of processing old film that’s been sitting around for decades, the risk that there may not be any images on the film.
And then, Magic as the images are printed, and a bygone era is revealed from an anonymous soldier’s point of view. “The photographer seemed interested in capturing moments that had a large significance to multiple people,” says Bettweiser.
The video also shows how Bettweiser has merged old and new, by scanning and manipulating the results to get high-quality prints from what darkroom people might consider unprintable negatives.
As Bettweiser says, “The moments in time captured on these rolls of film were important to someone at some point.”
Bonus: For the uninitiated, you get a good feel for what it’s like to process film.
The Rescued Film Project collects and archives images shot between the 1930s and 1990s that were sitting, undeveloped, in their original rolls for years. They process the film, print the results and share it online.