For most people the anticipation period between taking an image on film and processing it becomes almost a form of torture. However, for others, something occurs during this limbo period, leaving thousands of rolls of undeveloped memories tightly wound in a mini time capsule.
Words By Caitlin Hennesy
Levi Bettwieser began The Rescued Film Project in an effort to develop the forgotten and lost rolls of film that never saw the light of day. His belief is that every picture encompasses a special moment for someone and aims to make sure these snapshots of each photographer’s experiences are documented and shared.
By taking damaged unprocessed film and publishing his findings online, Levi has gained quite a following of viewers anticipating his next post. One of the requirements for submitting a found roll and having it published is that the photographer must be completely unknown. As if he’s created a digital housing solution for all the undeveloped film in the world, Levi presumes the site now holds over 30,000 images.
One of the most impressive is a series of 31 undeveloped rolls of film shot by a soldier during World War Two. Located at an auction in Ohio, Levi noticed the rolls contained labels of significance, ‘Boston Harbour’ ‘Lucky Strike Beach’ ‘French Funeral.’ As Levi began developing each photo, he noticed the historic significance and how perfectly the unknown photographer captured a snapshot of a pivotal moment in time. Most of the images that came out of the rolls were wide landscape scene shots, suggesting the photographer was predominantly interested in shooting moments of large importance to other people. The identity of the photographer is still unknown.
The project has become a scrolling online archive of children’s birthday’s, Halloween, exotic travels, children’s league baseball torments and lover’s snapshots. Each image is a tiny window into different points of time between the years of 1930 and 1990. Not only has Levi created a rescue rest site for these forgotten images, but he has also tickled the human desire of intrigue and given thousands of people an insight into intimate moments of history.
Words by: Caitlin Hennesy
All images remain Copyright of The Rescued Film Project