Expired Film Club’s Miles Accidentally Found Stunning Images from the ’40s

Miles, 29, at Expired Film Club, shared his discovery of “stunning” lost images from the 1940s after purchasing the expired film on eBay.

The British photographer regularly buys expired film and old cameras from online sellers. And subsequently uses them to document the modern world on his social media. Usually, the films don’t include any old photos on them.

“I got into buying old film through curiosity about shooting rolls of ‘expired’ film. All film has an expiry date, after which time the chemicals degrade, and you can get crazy effects and results through using it. I started finding some really interesting rolls online and shooting them, and I just loved the results, so I began posting them on social media. From there I tried to find more unique and interesting films to use,”

Miles at Expired Film Club

Miles used a Sony Alpha 7 digital camera and lightbox to scan the film, which resulted in an amazing optical time capsule from 80 years ago.

And now Miles is welcoming all expired film photographers and enthusiasts into the Expired Film Club.

What is ‘expired film’?

Regardless of whether it was made recently or long ago, a flashcard is going to work the same way. Not so with film: It captures images using chemical reactions instead of semiconductor devices.

To make film, a gelatine mixture containing silver salts is spread thinly on thin plastic and rolled up to form a roll. What’s most important here is understanding that when silver halides are exposed to light or other types of radiation, they undergo a chemical reaction.

There are several reasons why film has expiration dates. Over time, the silver halide crystals in photographic emulsions can become less sensitive. Cosmic and background radiation may also cause the unaltered silver salts to be altered randomly, reducing the number of unexposed crystals and adding noise. Otherwise called “fogging”.

Dyes tend to degrade more quickly than the silver salts, and the multiple layers often degrade at different rates.

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