How long does film last?

I recently bought a Ricoh R1 on eBay. The seller sent some out-of-date film with the camera.

Trawling the interweb for how long film lasts I remembered that I once got pictures from 40-year-old film. Not just 40-year-old film, but the pictures were taken 40 years ago.

When my father died I inherited his cameras. I found a film in one of his Rolleiflexes and another in an Ensign Selfix that I used to use. When I got the films developed I was amazed to see 40-year-old pictures lurking behind the light leaks and foxing.

From the Rolleiflex

Out of the Rolleiflex came a 10-year-old, mid ’70s me standing in a Hepworth sculpture in the grounds of Exeter University. I think I remember my dad taking the picture; I certainly remember climbing around in the sculpture.

Update: Here’s the sculpture 40 years later. 10-year-old me has gone.

From the Ensign

From the Ensign emerged pictures taken by the same ten-year-old me.

A beehive in ’70s Devon.

These are my school friends. That looks like a railing and a chunk of Exeter city wall. Or perhaps a bit of cathedral (we were choristers).

This is Peanuts. He was called Peanuts because he only ate peanuts.

Would I recommend leaving film in the camera for 40 years?

Clearly not the best workflow for tip-top results, but if you are after foxing and general spookiness and don’t mind a slight wait then this process could be for you.

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