Last week Renee texted me with some images of some old cameras she saw in an antique store in Lebanon, Ohio, and one of those images was of a Mamiya 528TL. I have a rule that I am not acquiring any additional cameras unless it is something that I plan on shooting (ie, no dust collectors). Even though I have several 35mm cameras and most of my shooting on film is done in Medium Format, I have a special place in my heart for Mamiya products as I absolutely adore my RB67’s, my 645’s, and my C220. So why not one more Mamiya?? I love the quality of my Medium Format Mamiya’s so this 35mm version should be fun to shoot.
Renee brought it home and, of course, the shutter was dead. Had I done my research beforehand I would have found that this is a common problem with the 528TL, and to get a working one now is actually more rare of an occasion than finding a dead one. OK, so I broke my rule unintentionally - and the 528TL becomes another piece of decoration for my office at work.
Even though the camera is toast it looks great, and when inspecting it I saw that the shot counter was on #16. I removed the snap-on leather case, hit the film-release button, and rewound the roll. I popped open the back to find a 24 exposure roll of Kodak Kodacolor VR100. Based on the counter being at 16 my guess was the shooter didn’t finish the roll and just put the camera away to use again later but never did. Being in the protective case may have saved the film inside since the case had to be removed to open the back. Dead or not, my plan was to develop the film the next time I am developing some color film.
Fast forward to yesterday – I shot a roll of Ektar out at Ceasar Creek so I developed that and the 35mm roll of found film. The Roll of Kodacolor was super difficult to get on the film reel due to it being curled very badly. Probably from being rolled-up on the take-up spool for years. Once I got it in the reel and started I found that the film was badly damaged about 2/3 way thru the roll. My guess is people kept trying to rewind the camera without removing the film lock, so they succeeded in tearing the hell out of the sprocket holds on the film. I ended up cutting that portion off in order to get it fully into the roll.
After I developed it I hung it to dry and was disappointed as it appeared that there were no images on it. But after it dried and I could inspect closer there were some faint images on there. It was a bit of work to get them scanned in but they were salvageable so I’m glad I gave it a shot.
Not all of the images came out though. It looks like there was an outdoor family party and as it got darker outside the images were quite dark – and given the time that had passed they weren’t recoverable. But the ones that were look to be sometime in the early-to-mid 80’s given the hair and clothing. There was a lot of damage and fading to the images, and the color had shifted quite a bit.
Then there was the chair. These were the last two shots on the roll and I’m not certain what they are all about. I’m guessing it was some sort of restoration project that was about to take place given the nature of the shots and the newspapers laying on the floor to protect it (?).
Obviously a lot of time has passed since these were taken, and I’m not even certain if the person who took them, or the people in the shots, are still alive. The name on the bottom of the camera was “DW Boring, Jan 15, 1971 M-W Co.” Guessing that these images were about 10 years or so after that date I’m thinking that was who shot them. Before the age of digital not everyone bought a new camera nearly every year, so it is entirely conceivable that it’s the same person. I found a mention of a “DW Boring” in an old copy of the Portsmouth, Ohio times from July 1976 so it could be them?
If anyone knows DW Boring, or any of the people in these images, please reach out to me at Jeremy.email@example.com. I’d be happy to share the digital scans with them and/or give them the negatives.
Thanks for reading!