Canon’s Selphy line of compact photo printers use cartridges that contain both paper and ink, allowing you to use your digital camera or smartphone like an instant camera while you’re out and about. There’s one thing you might not know about the cartridges, though: empty cartridges contain faint copies of the photos that were printed.
That’s what Romanian wedding photographer Florin Kiritescu accidentally found out recently. After running out of paper on his old Canon Selphy CP720 printer, he started playing around with the empty cartridge.
Curious about what the empty cartridge contains, Kiritescu decided to crack it open. Here’s what he found:
Leftover materials from the prints — harmless, right? But Kiritescu decided to photograph the colored film on a makeshift lightbox with backlighting from a flash.
This is what emerged:
Invert the photo in Photoshop, and the original printed shot is recovered:
Here’s what it looks like when cropped, turned into grayscale, and auto-adjusted for contrast:
“As you can see, if you dispose of the empty cartrige without destroying it, someone will be able to recover your intimate photos,” Kiritescu tells PetaPixel.
This “ghost image” is what’s found in the wasted dye used in dye sublimation printing.
“I found this a little bit dangerous for privacy,” he says. “Everybody who wants to print images with the Canon Selphy should destroy these cartridges after use” — if they don’t want their personal photos falling into the wrong hands.
Image credits: Photographs by Florin Kiritescu and used with permission