When I saw these pictures I assumed they were at least 50 years old. Nope! Amazingly, the photos were actually shot this month! How come they look so old then? Well, because the pictures were taken with a roll of Super-XX 120 government surplus film that expired in May 1959.
Chuck Miller, the photographer, wanted to see how long film could last past its expiration date (and what it would look like). He knew that photographers sometimes stuck film rolls in the fridge to lengthen their life but could film really be useful after 50 years? He scored this roll of black and white film for 10 bucks on eBay and asked a film expert what would happen if he used it. Charles Lang, from Kodak responded:
“Any film material will be exposed to ambient radiation over the course of many years, so the fog on them will be high. The paper backing on roll film is not designed to be light tight for 50 years, so you’re going to see greater fogging on the edges of the finished picture. But if you’re going to use this film, shoot it at half speed.”
And that he did and that they looked. The expired pictures feel like they’re from another era. Miller has some great comparison shots on his blog that show off the differences between pictures taken with current film versus the pictures taken with the 50-year-old film. It’s stark (which is predictable) but lovely to see. It seems like there’s so much life and history in the expired film! Head over to Chuck Miller’s blog to see more. [Chuck Miller via PetaPixel]