Photography fanatic Martijn van Oers likes nothing better than taking photographs and collecting vintage equipment and pictures. Oers recently found himself handling an original Zeiss Ikon 520/2, which was a folding, medium-format camera from the early 20th century. Oers had purchased the classic camera in a vintage store. Much to his surprise and delight, the camera still had a roll of film inside. The word “EXPOSÉ” was written on the film roll. According to Oers’ research, the Zeiss Ikon was made around the year 1929, and the film roll was made somewhere between the 1940’s and the 1970’s.
Oers turned the film over to his friend Johan Holleman, who had a lifetime of experience in developing rare film. Holleman told Oers it was unlikely that the photos could be recovered because the film was so old. What happened next surprised both men.
They were removing the processed film from its container, and they were quite surprised to see that there appeared to be actual photos still visible on the negatives. Holleman went about developing the images.
When they looked over the images, they found four that had enough detail to be able to decipher what was on the pictures. The camera had been owned by a man who is even shown in one of the photographs, as he carries the camera’s case.
Oers shared the pictures on his Facebook page for others to see. One of his friends, Wilco, said that one of them looked like it was shot in Biarritz, which is a city in the French Basque Country in southwestern France. Wilco had recently been in Biarritz and thought it looked familiar. Once Oers reviewed the Google Street View of the area, he was convinced his friend was right.
The incredible images are essentially a time capsule of the man’s experience in French Basque Country.
Oers knows that the odds of finding the people in the photographs are low, but he still wants to identify the people in the images. He dreams of one day giving the photographs to the original owner’s descendants.