A crazy story of photo survival has emerged over in New Zealand. Apparently a couple had lost their camera during the Christchurch earthquake last February. They found the demolished camera yesterday, 18 months after it got buried in silt, and were overjoyed to find that their precious photos were still readable.
The Lost & Found Project is a volunteer effort that recovered three quarters of a million lost photographs after last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Each of the snapshots was washed, digitized, and numbered, and twenty thousand of them have since been reunited with their owners. Project head Munemasa Takahashi states,
After the disaster occurred, the first thing the people who lost their loved ones and houses came to look for was their photographs. Only humans take moments to look back at their pasts, and I believe photographs play a big part in that.
A photographer was recently reunited with his lost photographs after another photographer happened to stumble upon them at a flea market. Photographer-turned-filmmaker Alexi Tan lost his entire photographic archive some time ago while shooting his first feature film in China. He had accidentally let his credit card expire, leading his New York-based storage company to auction off his archive.
We’ve heard of digital photos being recovered after lost cameras drift for 1,000 miles (in underwater casing) or spend a year at the bottom of the ocean floor, but is there any hope for a camera that experiences four years of abuse at sea? Turns out there is. A man named Peter Govaars was walking along a beach in California when he stumbled upon a battered camera “skeleton” with a memory card still attached. He took the SD card home, took it apart, spent 30 minutes cleaning it, and was surprised to discover 104 photographs taken within a 2 week period in June 2007.
Here’s a story that’s sure to drop your jaws: A Spanish trawlerman named Benito Estevez was recently fishing off the west coast of Europe when his net brought up a digital camera from the Atlantic seabed.
Five photographs were recovered from the camera’s memory card, and included shots of a man and woman posing on the deck of a ship (seen to the left).
In one of the photographs (bottom), a woman is seen on the deck of the QM2 cruise liner, with the QE2 in the background. BBC News reported the story on television last night, and published it online early this morning. This afternoon, they reported that the owners had been found. A friend of the owners, living in England, noticed their photographs last night just as she was about to switch off her television.
Turns out the owners, Barbara and Dennis Gregory of South Africa, were traveling from New York to Southampton in 2008 when the camera fell overboard into the Atlantic. Mrs. Gregory says,
Somebody spotted dolphins in the water and the two of us jumped up and that was it. It literally bounced off his lap, across the deck and into the water with hardly a splash and it was gone. [...] There’s no way we could ever have imagined that this thing would ever turn up again. It sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. [...] You daydream that it might happen that these pictures are going to pop up somewhere, but you don’t think it’s ever going to happen.
It’s absolutely mindboggling.
(via Digital Photography Review)