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King in 1997

The story of this photograph is truly amazing.

In autumn 2003 while visiting Russia I was planning to practice shooting film using a prehistoric rangefinder camera Zorki-4. When I found the camera, it turned out to be loaded with some film. For years nobody touched the camera and I didn't have any idea what was on that film... not even what kind of film it was. I rewinded the film back into the cassette and took it out. It turned out to be Kodak Gold 100. "Good", I thought, "at least it is not b/w and I can have it processed at any lab". The time was 5am and it was Sunday (yeah, I was still jet-lagged), so I had to wait till 10am to see what was on that film. I was walking around my quiet and sleepy city puzzled at what it might be.

At 10 sharp I was at the lab. I described the situation to the lab guy. He said that he would adjust the processing time manually to try to pull out whatever was left on the film. He also said that given the time the unprocessed film spent in the camera (I estimated it was there since 1996-1997) he would not expect to see much. It is generally considered best to process the film within 2 weeks from shooting, and this one expired long time ago... But better something than nothing.

30 more minutes spent in anticipation. When I finally got the film and looked at it - I went breathless! The pictures were very dim and light on the negative, they looked almost like ghosts, but I could recognize several pictures of my poodle King there! They were taken in June 1997, when King was 6 years of age. Kingusha died in summer 2002, a year before the discovery, and I only had a couple pictures of him... Those faint images on the film immediately brought back many-many dear memories...

Unfortunately, prints made from that film were very bad, so I decided to scan the film at the highest quality possible and try to recover the photographs using Adobe Photoshop. The photograph that you see here is a fragment of one of them. Of course, it is not perfect, with the film grain clearly visible and the colors distorted, but you can even see King's wet brown hair (yes, we were swimming in the Volga on that day) and the calm and content expression in his eyes! This photograph is very special to me...

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