Man Finds Old Camera, Stops Cold When He Sees Face – Legitpost.com.ng
Connect with us

Inspirational

Man Finds Old Camera, Stops Cold When He Sees Face

Netherlands native Martine van Oers had been obsessed with photography from a young age, especially loving the eerie feeling that vintage photographs evoked in him. He tried to capture that particular feeling when he started taking his own images. On Martine’s 12th birthday, he was presented with his very own camera, but his mother found herself growing increasingly concerned about his new favorite hobby, more specifically his obsession with exploring the sinister underbelly of the town and catching it in photographs. A mother’s instincts are rarely wrong.

Martine wasn’t like the other children his age. When other boys were off with their friends, he preferred to be alone, wandering through the streets of Breda with his camera by his side. His imagination could run wild, and his favorite spots were the crumbling ruins of old buildings and abandoned places on the outskirts of town. The adrenaline of exploring these dangerous and forgotten pockets of urban decay made him feel alive, and he wanted nothing more than to catch a glimpse of the spirits who still lingered there. As he grew older, his obsession with the macabre only grew, much to his mother’s dismay.

Advertisement

The fateful day took place in 2017. Martine was taking a stroll through the town when he suddenly found his feet moving toward the doors of a thrift store a block away. He was looking for some inspiration for his latest photography project; maybe he would find what he was looking for inside. He let his intuition guide him idly down the aisles until his eyes fell on exactly what he had been looking for.

On a low shelf, a vintage camera squatted like a shiny black toad. Upon closer inspection, Martine realized that it was a Zeiss Ikon 522, and even better, it was in pristine condition, hardly used. Fate had flung him in the camera’s path for a reason, and although he wasn’t sure what that reason was, he knew that the camera had been meant for him to find. Acting on pure instinct, he picked it up and took it to the counter to buy it.

Advertisement

The next morning, Martine could barely contain his excitement. He got up uncharacteristically early to inspect his new toy more thoroughly, but when he opened it up, something rattled inside. He wanted to see if the camera still worked, if everything opened, and if the wheels were still turning. To his great surprise, there was a roll of film. But what Martine didn’t realize was that once he decided to develop it, there would be no going back.

It wasn’t lost on Martine that what he had in his hands had all the makings of a real-life horror story. On the other hand, a burning sense of curiosity had started to gnaw at his troubled mind. He just had to know what was on the roll of film. But first, he had to do some research. Inspecting the roll of film gingerly, he noticed that it had the word “expose” printed on its side. He thought that probably meant that the roll had been exposed and used. Martine knew that this particular make and model of camera was from the 1920s, but that didn’t tell him how old the roll of film actually was.

Advertisement

“I found out the camera was built around 1924,” Martine said, and to add fuel to the fire, the date correlated with Fritz Harmon’s reign of terror. That meant that the camera was at least 89 years old. It would be a miracle if the images on the film had survived. That gave Martine the confidence he needed to try to recover them on his own.

On a cold Tuesday morning, Martine set up in Johann’s kitchen in total darkness, carefully bathing the negatives in a chemical bath. The men were surprised when they began to see the faint outlines emerging. The images were finally going to be released from their longtime prison. But was it a mistake?

Advertisement

Martine, unable to wait any longer, hung the negatives up in the shower and began to frantically dry them with a blow dryer to hasten the development process. They had opened Pandora’s box, and it was too late to go back now. After what seemed like an age, the negatives were finally dry enough to be viewed. In total, there were four photographs.

Johann and Martin quickly loaded the negatives onto a projector and adjusted the first blurry image. Martine’s eyes widened in disbelief as the woman’s face came into view. It all seemed so surreal. She was standing on a pathway that wound around a mountainside like a ghostly ribbon. Her face was turned slightly to the side, as if admiring the roaring ocean beneath her.

Advertisement

The next two photographs were similar to the first, with the same woman posed eerily in various locations. But who was she? Martine was relieved to find that his wild speculations of the camera’s origin had been unfounded, but he was so wrapped up in this new mystery that he hardly felt the tiny pang of disappointment. Entranced, the men flipped to the next image.

The final fourth photograph depicted an elderly man, the camera’s telltale carry case slung over his shoulder. He must be the owner of the camera and also the photographer. But the men’s astonishing find had only left them with more unanswered questions. Where were these photos taken, and how could they find the camera’s original owner?

Advertisement

Then Martine had an idea. He knew that the power of social media had been proven time and time again. But would it work this time? Posting the photographs on Facebook, he hoped that someone would come forward to help him solve the mystery. In just a few hours, the photos had been shared hundreds of times.

Then, someone posted a photo of their own that helped crack the case. A man posted a Google Street View of Biarritz in France, where he thought the mysterious photos had been taken. Martine inspected it carefully and knew he was right. It was the same place that the woman had posed in the photographs, with the same coastline and cement pathway.

Advertisement

Then Martine received another message on Facebook, and this time, the case was blown wide open. Marion Jurians, a Dutch woman, recognized the photos on Martin’s Facebook post almost immediately as her grandparents. She revealed that the man who had taken the pictures was Theo Lambers. She also knew that he and his wife, Elizabeth Lambers-Bervalin, had visited Biarritz.

Martine was astonished by this new revelation, but he knew exactly what he had to do. Marion was born in the Netherlands but had later moved to Canada. Martine understood that traveling there would be expensive, but he knew he had to deliver the old photographs of her grandparents to her in person.

Advertisement

He created a GoFundMe account to raise the funds, and soon the donations came pouring in. People all over the world wanted to see the long-lost images reunited with their family. Martine traveled all the way from Breda to Canada to return the photographs to Marion. When she saw them, she was ecstatic.

“I love all of the pictures, and I would like to keep them all together, as that is how they are meant to be,” she said. “My house is already rather full since my grandfather was also a painter, but I hope I can find a spot to put them on the wall so I can remember this whole event.”

Advertisement

Click to comment

Drop Your Comments