Found Film Friday: Fungus

It’s “Found Film Friday!”  This week’s roll is a bit different from most weeks.  This week’s roll seems to have been stored in conditions that allowed some sort of mildew or fungus to grow on the  film.  This was not obvious in the development process, but when you look at the scanned photos, you can tell this is not just random “fog,” but instead follows a pattern.  Like you might see in a petri dish, maybe.  It could also be the result of chemical reactions, but I have never heard of this being mentioned in online fora dealing with old film.


Whatever the cause, this has pretty much ruined the photos, but created some interesting effects.  This is the film roll. It looks clean on the outside. Tri-X Pan was introduced in 1940, but not in 620 size until 1954. You can still buy it today at specialty shops. Most cameras I’ve come across use this film to make 8 exposures of 6 by 9 cm each – but the camera this came from made exposures half that size, 6 by 4.5 cm. Only about half of the 16 potential photos on this roll show any real image, but I scanned some of the other “blank” sections just because the patterns were interesting.

To start out, here’s a nice “still life” from someone’s yard:

Found Film: Tri-X Pan with Fungus

Here you can see the effects of whatever it was that grew on the film, and the patterns it makes. There is a car which repeats several times and gives us a clue on the age of the film.

Found Film: Tri-X Pan with Fungus

The car looks like it might be from the early 50s – but we know the film wasn’t available until 1954.

Found Film: Tri-X Pan with Fungus

Found Film: Tri-X Pan with Fungus

Then there are a few which my daughter says would be fun for her art / design class:

Found Film: Tri-X Pan with Fungus

Found Film: Tri-X Pan with Fungus


Hopefully next week the pictures will be a bit clearer.  Meanwhile, if you’d like to see the rest of the photos on this roll (and other found film), you can check out this flickr set.  You can also check out Tony Kemplen’s photos on Flickr – he had something similar happen with a few rolls of film and the results were much more spectacular.  But probably not 60 years old…

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