Found Film: Magic In Mystery Part 2 / by Deen Schroeder

My previous piece, Found Film: Magic in Mystery, focused on the discovery of a forgotten roll of 35mm film. I wrote about the discovery of the film, the subsequent decision to get it developed and the actual photos that emerged. I suggest that you give it a read before continuing with this article. This is Part 2.

I published the article on my site and shared a link to it on my personal Facebook page in the hopes that perhaps someone would recognize some in the photos. I have always been an eternal optimist and a believer in the internet’s ability to connect people that might seem to have no connection. Realistically I didn't expect too much to happen.

The Facebook post received a few likes, comments and shares but honestly… What are the chances of me finding out who took these images, when they were taken or where?

Mark Banks, a well know South African comedian and one of my Facebook friends commented on the post saying that the elderly lady in the photo looked like his friend Beezy Baily's Mother. The thing about Mr Banks, it is very difficult to know whether or not he is pulling your leg. I decided to see his comment as fact and messaged a person that I found on Facebook that shared the same name. 

No response.

A month passed and still no response and then a couple of days ago, Beezy replied to my message.

This is what happened…

Me:

I know that this is a super random message but recently I found a roll of undeveloped film. I had it developed and posted some of the photos on my site and on Facebook in the hopes of finding their owner. Mark Banks commented and mentioned that one of the photos was the mother of a person with your name. So I am just reaching out and wanted to know if this lady, is indeed your mother and if these are your photos.

Beezy:

Hi Deen , yes it is my mother, how strange, any friend of Mark Banks is a friend of mine. I'm trying to work out where you shot it ? Do you remember?

Me:

Wow, that's amazing! I didn't actually take the photos. I found an old roll of film at an antique store and decided to get it developed to see what photos were taken. The rest of the photos are on my site. (linked him to the article I had written)

maybe you know these people???

Beezy:

It's a mind f**k , it's my son Jasper's roll of film , he was at the David Goldbalt /market theater photography school in Joburg a year ago , the roll was shot on a trip we went on to London and Crete . He's now at film school ,in CT ,having been robbed of his R60 k camera, Apple laptop , iPhone and car in his last month in Joburg. {before we got him out of there , ] I wonder if his stolen camera ended up in the same shop as the film ? I think you should organize an exhibition of them , this is a wonderful story, Jasper is so stoked , I just showed him , you can contact him on... (contact details for Jasper)

I also received an email from a lady named Tessa that confirmed the images were taken by Jasper.

Tessa:

What a lovely story and what really interesting timeless images! They are Jaspers! Love your blog though and will follow it.

My mind was completely blown by the sequence of events and before I knew it, Jasper wrote to me on Facebook.

Jasper:

Hey man my Dad just sent me a link to the "Magic in Mystery" story on your blog and I'm very glad to say those are my photos! I lived in Johannesburg at the end of 2013 and most of 2014, I purchased the Pentax also from the analog gold mine that is Collectors Treasury while I was staying in Maboneng after a few months it was stolen along with the rest of my gear from a place I was staying in Melville. In the time I'd had it I'd taken it back to Cape Town, where I shot most of the roll, Then to London (img 13-16) and finally to Greece (last two frames) what I find fascinating is that I distinctly remember shooting one roll on it and then it broke, such a nice surprise to see another roll I'd completely forgotten about until seeing the pics. If you can just WeTransfer the hi res jpgs. that would be sweet as im currently in Cape Town then can hopefully collect the negs when im back in the north. All the best J

I hoped for these images to be returned to their owner, but I really didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. I developed the roll of film out of pure curiosity and felt an urge to share this untold story in the best way I know how. 

The really is magic in mystery.