Just the usual story of getting a roll of film developed and it coming back with photos of people and children you’ve never before, in a house you’ve never, ever stepped foot in. A simple mix up at the photo lab you may think, as I did too. But the plot thickens when the first photo is…you.
I’m now on a mission to find these guys and reunite them with some memories.
Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.
– Dorothea Lange
In December 2012, I took a roll of 35mm to Boots to get processed. I’m a nightmare, I don’t label my rolls, so I have no idea which is spent, what camera they came out of or when I used them. I quite enjoy the little mystery element of it all…but none more so than this quite spectacular cryptic situation.
I ripped the package open like a hungry Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka. I love the little excitedness you get when you pick photos up. Although nowadays, in the age of instant photos, it’s a rarity and there’s probably millions of people who never have and never will get that feeling.
The first one image, a really crap, over exposed selfie.
The second, awful.
By the third image, I’ve pretty much decided that I’m a shit photographer and I’d pissed 15 quid up the wall.
It was with the next image when things got a little interesting…
I had never seen this woman in my life before. What the hell was she doing on my photos?
I flicked to the next one…
Nope, never met this guy ever, ever in my life, ever.
…haunting photos of children that I didn’t know…
I was stood next to the toothbrushes in Boots actually questioning my sanity. Had I had a really wild night out and ended up hanging out with a bunch of randoms and their kids? Had someone slipped me something and taken me to a house with dodgy curtains?
For the next few days I turned all Jessica Fletcher, I’d obviously been taking photos over an already used roll of film (give this girl a gold star!). Could I have picked up a roll of film that an old flatmate left? Nope, they didn’t know these guys either.
To play around with my Diana I buy cheap rolls of expired film from The Real Camera Company, Manchester. Someone had probably dropped off some old film and thought it was unused.
Towards the end of the roll, is one of my shots again, this is clearly my balcony.
I saved the scanned images on my computer, in a folder labelled ‘Mystery head fuck’ and forgot about them, until now.
Photos document memories, they’re a dead good way to bring back the feelings of good times, old friends, lost family, epic parties, dull weddings. They’re a pretty personal thing, so now I, by accident, have someone else’s memories.
So, I’m using my blog to try and find this little family – let’s get back together and re-create some of this shots that have spoilt. I wanna know what you were doing in that living room, where in the world are you, who’s taken the snaps, when was it and what are you up to now?
Come on then Mr Internets. Help me find My Mystery Family.
Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
– Aaron Siskind