Genesis II Found Film - An Archaeological Approach

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. First the camera and film in question. I have already posted on the camera and my testing of it at
  2. Genesis II Found Film from 2001?

    An archaeologist's interpretation

    In the Prologue, Shakespeare's King Henry the Vth the chorus starts off with

    O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
    The brightest heaven of invention,

    I would ask in my case for "a muse of Quabbin", but alas I am no Gene M.

    Instead, I'll apply an archaeologist's eye to these ancient times to see what can be reconstructed from the material remains.

    We do this sort of thing all the time in archaeology, although we are rarely called to account, since our 'subjects' are usually safely gone for centuries. In this case, if you've got corrections on details such as my having the wrong film or other unpardonable error, please chime in.
    However, I must stress that on no account is anecdotal argument to be used (such as, "I am that kid and it was 2003"). There is no place in photographic archaeology for that sort of idealist fuzziness.

    Nonetheless, I found a roll of exposed film in my 'new' Genesis II (GS-8) AF-AE SLR 'bridge' camera from 1990. Since the camera was only introduced then, the pictures have to be later (your first "terminus post quem" - an old archaeological dating tool). This is all 1990 or later.

    The film is just plain Kodak MAX 400 color film, first released in 2001 (another terminus post quem), so the earliest this roll could have been shot was 2001.

    Of the 36-exposures roll of Kodak MAX 400 only 24 images were there, and evidently the camera had been quickly opened and closed before the film was rewound.
    In fact, the film had been mostly rewound, which is a minor mystery of its own since the automatic rewind on the Genesis winds it up completely into the cartridge as a rule. Perhaps the battery was getting weak or the film was rewound with a weak battery much later?

    The camera was offered on eBay in 2011 and bought by me (post on it here at ). This is a Terminus ante quem - the pictures are no later than early 2011.
  3. The first shots on the film are actually from a Martial Arts meet of some kind. Atama is a brand of gear as well as a martial arts association. The AF didn't handle the "Butt-in head" too well.

    This is late enough to have a dot com address, but that's not too helpful.
  4. Then come a series of Jack-O-Lanterns, nicely carved.

    So it was Halloween - this is the sort of thing that often happens in archaeology. You may know pretty closely what time of year some artifact dates from, but that may offer little clue as to the year. Perhaps a stylistic analysis of the carving would tie it down a little, but although I could fake it and tell you that this style of pumpkin carving lasted for only a short time in 2001, it isn't true.
  5. Some of the pumpkin shots some knowlege of how to turn off the flash, although that was not done on every example.
    On the other hand, the next pictures show a young boy who seems to be in what I (perhaps ignorantly) identify as a Red Power Ranger (it could be religious or ceremonial regalia if it were prehistoric).

    The costume has superficial similarities (perhaps avoiding copyright issues) to the costume used in the 2001 "Power Rangers Time Force" on TV in that year. The Power Rangers in the USA go back to as early as 1993, and are apparently still going today (2011). One tends to lose track of these details as ones own kids grow out of that stage. If this is correct, the kid is either the 2001 Wesley Collins Power Ranger or the 3000 Alex. I looked and there are definitely markers for each date of Power Rangers, but the data on line are too coarse to tie this down much - and, as I said Halloween costumes tend to skirt the licensing issues.

    The light saber shown later on is not a good "horizon marker" since Star Wars went on, and on, and on (ca. 1977 to 2003). The light saber could easily be related to one of the reworked reissues or the Prequel Trilogy.
  6. The last surviving image on the roll was this one. An ascending generation adult playing at Star Wars with the kid (as an older parent myself, I am cautious about identifying "Dad" or "Grampa"). This was affected by the opening of the camera.
  7. So I suggest as a working hypothesis that this film was put into the camera sometime in 2001, probably in the Fall. Many of the pictures are from Halloween and show trick and treating, pumpkins, eating the loot, and so on.
    Maybe just a month or so after the fateful day of 9/11.

    Perhaps that was why the loaded camera and film was laid aside and the film was not developed? (This sort of environmental linkage is common in archaeology -- tie the remains to an earthquake, erruption, whatever.) On the other hand, perhaps the hi-jinx and good spirits in the pictures mean it was a year or so later?

    The camera was part of an estate sale and the vendor knew nothing about the film. Perhaps the gentleman with the child or his spouse died without ever getting around to having it processed?
    Another set of pictures that are lost to those who took them.
  8. An excellent discourse on the customs of an ancient and unknown tribe.
  9. Interesting post, JDM! Hypothetically, if it were important enough, you could determine the year and month(s) that the images were taken. You'd have to do a hell of a lot of work, though!
  10. Probably a fairly recent lightsaber (Link)

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