Photographer discovers undeveloped World War 1 photos on antique French camera

Photographer discovers undeveloped World War 1 photos on antique French camera

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California-based photographer Anton Orlov made a remarkable find when browsing in an antique shop – an old French camera containing original negatives from the First World War.

The stereoscopic camera, called a Jumelle Bellieni, caught Anton’s immediate attention from amongst the dozens of other 19th century cameras on display in the cluttered shop.  When he bought the camera and got it home, he set about cleaning off a century’s worth of dust and grime from the outer case.  He then slid off the back of the camera to reveal it’s inner workings.  On his blog, he described the moment when “things got incredibly interesting,”

“Inside each film chamber I found a stack of neat little glass plate holders (12 total).  While 4 of them were empty the rest contained the original thin plates of glass.  The last thing that I ever expected to find though were negative images on those plates!”

Intrigued by the images, he scanned them and was amazed to discover that they dated back to the First World War and were taken somewhere in France.  The scenes show French soldiers posing amongst the devastated landscapes and detritus of war:

French cavalrymen with the wreckage of a downed biplane - image Anton Orlov
French cavalrymen with the wreckage of a downed biplane – image Anton Orlov

 

French soldier standing by a destroyed railway station - image Anton Orlov
French soldier standing by a destroyed railway station – image Anton Orlov

Anton, who runs The Photo Palace Bus – a travelling darkroom dedicated to traditional photography, has posted more images and details of his find on his blog here.

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