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Rescuing 1,200 rolls of film that were never processed

Engadget Engadget 6/07/2016 Aaron Souppouris

The Rescued Film Project rose to prominence last year with the release of hundreds of photos by an unknown World War 2 soldier. Founded by photographer Levi Bettweiser, the organization seeks out unclaimed film rolls from the 20th century before developing and archiving them for posterity. Bettweiser has previously kept this effort going with donations alone, but for his latest haul, he needs a little help. The Rescued Film Project has recovered 66 bundles of film containing around 1,200 rolls, and it's currently seeking funding on Indiegogo to pay a third party to process them.

The bundles are meticulously packaged. Rolls are labeled with the camera used, photo details and details about the subjects. Each was then wrapped in foil and athletic tape, with additional labeling on top. They were then tightly packed into cigar boxes and wrapped in multiple layers of foil, newspaper and tape, before being labeled again. The photographer is only known as "Paul," and was a steel worker.

The Rescued Film Project has processed just one of the 1,200 rolls, and it revealed some remarkably well preserved, candid shots of family life. While the collection unlikely to be as important as the discovery of Vivienne Meier's extensive work, Bettweiser feels that every unprocessed roll of film is important. Through his project, he hopes to "ensure that the photographers memories and dedication to preserving them aren't lost." He's seeking $15,000 to cover the vast processing costs, and at the time of writing has already raised over $11,500.

The Big Picture is a recurring feature highlighting beautiful images that tell big stories. We explore topics as large as our planet, or as small as a single life, as affected by or seen through the lens of technology.

The Rescued Film Project (Indiegogo)

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