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Lars, 49, solves UK couple's Swedish photo mystery

David Landes · 13 Dec 2011, 15:06

Published: 13 Dec 2011 15:06 GMT+01:00

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On October 20th, The Local published the story of Joe Avery, who was surprised to discover that the there was film in an old camera included in a box of items he and his wife purchased at an auction house in Eksjö last summer.

Upon returning to the UK, Avery took the old film to a processing shop, which in turn managed to produce 12 grainy, black and white images from the film.

The shop owner told Avery the film could be up to 50 years old.

"I couldn't believe it,” Avery told The Local at the time, adding that he hoped publishing the story would provide clues as to where the pictures, which included images of young children, came from.

“It's like we've stumbled across a moment in these people's lives that has been hidden in this camera for perhaps 50 years and they may not even know it.”

Readers of The Local theorized in comments beneath the original article that the images were from the 1950s, and that the bridge featured in some of the pictures was the Svinesund bridge that connects Sweden to Norway.

But speculation was laid to rest recently after the Smålands-Tidningen, a local newspaper that covers the region around Eksjö, ran a story about the Avery’s mystery photographs.

Shortly after the story appeared in the local newspaper, 49-year-old Lars Lindahl got a call from his cousin asking him if he’d seen the November 19th edition of the paper.

“She called and said she recognized me from the pictures,” Lindahl told The Local.

After receiving calls from others, Lindahl examined the newspaper himself and confirmed that he was the young boy featured in some of the images found on the film in Avery’s vintage camera.

“I was really surprised,” Lindahl said.

He estimates the pictures were taken in 1967 or 1968, as there was a lot of snow in the area that year.

He was four or five years old at the time.

Also featured in the pictures are his older sister Anita, his father Ingvar, and mother Anna-Märta.

He explained that after his father died and his mother was moved to a nursing home, he and his sister ended up handing much of his parents’ belongings to the auction house, not knowing that the camera and its film was among the items.

“It was an old camera. I remember when my father got a new one. He probably just forgot that there was film left in the old one,” said Lindahl.

Not only is Lindahl surprised by the round-about way the images came to his attention, but he couldn’t help but marvel that the film survived all those years.

“It’s really something,” he said.

Story continues below…

Upon hearing that the mystery had been solved, Avery could hardly contain himself.

“No way. That’s just amazing,” he told The Local upon learning that Lindahl had come forward.

Avery repeated his offer to return the camera and film to Lindahl, something the Swede plans to consider.

While Lindahl looks forward to getting a hold of the pictures from his childhood, he's not sure he that Avery should part with camera that housed them photos all these years.

“I don’t really have any need for the camera," said Lindahl.

"Even though I have similar images at home, it would be nice to have these ‘new’ one too.”

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:21 December 13, 2011 by zat_xela
Weird...why would you not want a missing piece of family history? It's like uncovering a family time capsule.
16:44 December 13, 2011 by spo10
For the camera and its film to survive all these years, surely it must have hold some meaning for this guy but no, he doesn't want the camera nor the film. Bad decision.
17:16 December 13, 2011 by cattie
Some men are not so sentimental. I would guess his sister might like the photos.
20:43 December 13, 2011 by shard
did I read a different article to you three? He doesn't want the camera, but "looks forward to getting a hold of the pictures from his childhood"

and it's nothing special for film to last 40-odd years in a camera. As long as it not stored in damp or hot conditions, b/w film will last exposed for many decades, and is usable even longer if unexposed. I've processed roll film found in cameras from the 1920's. It may lose a little pan-chromaticity, that's all, which in a black and white film often goes unnoticed - color being different of course.
07:39 December 14, 2011 by Lukestar1991
40 odd years isnt really that long ago now is it?
09:34 December 14, 2011 by Stonebridge
"...he's not sure he that Avery should part with camera that housed them photos all these years."

Oh dear! The standard of TheLocal's English is poor.

Get some reporters who can actually write decent English.
13:38 December 14, 2011 by gabeltoon
Since reading the article i have often wondered about the outcome.It is great that LARS LINDAHL was eventually found. It is great detective work. Enjoy the photos.
11:07 December 15, 2011 by DAVID T

stop complaining - what do you expect for free?
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