angels exist among us
Happy Accidents (2014)
This is one of the coolest stories I have. Hear me out.
Last summer, my father brought home an old Canon FT QL 35mm SLR film camera back from England, which had belonged to my grandfather, who died in 2001. When we popped the back open to load some new film, we discovered with horror that there was still a roll of film loaded, that we had just exposed to light. It’s not every day that you ruin the last roll of undeveloped film that your grandfather shot before he died.
I was pretty disappointed about this for a long time. What a terrible loss. My curiosity of what was on that roll of film before we ruined it ate away at me for almost a year. According to my memory, we pulled out the roll, threw it away, and inserted a new one. As I found out this summer, that’s not what happened.
When I had my first roll that I shot on the camera developed, the prints were all a mess of double and triple-exposed shots I don’t remember taking. Eventually I figured it out: last summer, my father hadn’t thrown out the old roll of film, he’d manually re-rolled and reloaded my grandfather’s last roll back into the camera.
I realized that my grandfather’s final roll of film was not destroyed, but rather that, over the course of a few months, I had effectively shot over it.
Most of the prints from it are an incomprehensible mess of double and triple-exposed shots, (with warped colour quality from being stuck in the camera for some 15 years,) but after looking at them closely, some of them were actually kind of amazing. Some of them showed a beautiful blend of scenes between England circa the late 1990s and Toronto circa 2014. A completely accidental photo collaboration between my dead grandfather and I that was about 15 years in the making.
If you have the time, take a few minutes to really inspect these photos. These photos are the happiest accidents I’ve ever stumbled into. They’re probably the coolest photos I’ll ever take, and I had no idea I was even taking them.