Man Purchases 50-Year-Old Camera Online, Then Develops The Film And Finds Mystery Wedding

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

When a 50-year-old camera caught photographer Alex Galmeanu‘s eye on eBay, he bought it, not thinking much of anything unexpected happening.

However, when the camera arrived, he realized there was a roll of film still in it, exposed but undeveloped.

The film looked decades old, and Galmeanu hoped that there would be something interesting to be found on it. Film doesn’t always stand the test of time, but on finding a roll that had been forgotten for so long, he knew he had to take the chance.

“Of course I had it developed right away,” he wrote on his blog, “and, as a surprise again, I was able to recover 10 quite usable images, especially when considering their age.”

The images showed a small wedding in a country setting, and based on the clothes and cars, Galmeanu determined the wedding took place sometime in the 1970s.

He also knew that the film, made by Kodak, was produced between 1963 and 1974. He was also able to tell by the cars that the wedding took place in England.

Fascinated by this mysterious wedding party, Galmeanu started sleuthing.

This is hardly the first time mysterious old photos from the past have been resurrected. In fact, there’s an entire project dedicated to rescuing and, if possible, identifying old photos.

But tracking down this family would wind up needing the help of the internet and the BBC.

[H/T: My Modern Met, Daily Mail, BBC]


Photographer Alex Galmeanu purchased this Balda Baldix camera, made in the 1960s, from eBay. It’s a fairly rare camera, but he found it for a good price and snapped it up.

When it arrived, he started to check it out.

Inside, he found a decades-old roll of undeveloped but exposed Kodak film.

He knew, based on the type of film, that it came from some point between 1963 and 1974, which meant that it had been sitting in the camera for at least 42 years.

Thanks to his photographic knowledge, though, he was able to get the film developed, and was able to find 10 good images on the roll.

Just by seeing the negatives, Galmeanu was able to tell that the roll captured a small wedding in a rural setting.

After developing the photos, he started to examine them for clues. It was obviously a wedding, and based on the clothing and hairstyles, it looked to have taken place in the early 1970s.

Based on the landscape, he theorized that this was somewhere in England.

His theory was confirmed when he saw the cars.

Also, let’s just take a moment to appreciate these ’70s-style wide-leg suits, can we? It looks like this was taken at the end of the wedding, and the bride has changed out of her gown.

The first break came from this photo, in which an Austin Maxi with a visible license plate was featured. Galmeanu searched this car’s plate number online and was able to find that it was registered in Edinburgh between August 1973 and July 1974.

Based on what he learned about the processing of this particular film, which was only done until 1973, he determined that this wedding took place in Scotland in 1973. But that didn’t answer the main question: who were these people?

To solve the mystery, Galmeanu put the photos online in the hopes that someone would come forward with the identity of the people in the photos.

Eventually, someone did.

A man named Alastair Bremner came forward and said the photos were taken on the wedding day of his sister, Kathleen, to a man named Pete Maloney.

The roll also included some images of a young family in what appears to be a backyard.

Bremner said that the wedding didn’t take place in Scotland, but at the Burleigh Court Hotel in Gloucestershire, where the Bremner siblings grew up. Alastair and his father were the joint owners of the Austin Maxi, which would go on to travel some 280,000 miles.

As for the couple, the marriage didn’t last. Bremner recalls, “She married Pete, but their wedding didn’t last long unfortunately. Pete now lives in Australia.”

However, even though he knows all the people in the photos, Bremner still doesn’t know the last piece of the puzzle: who took the photos in the first place.

He and Glameanu believe that the two photos taken of this young family, still unidentified, could hold the key to the photographer’s identity. Their guess is that it’s someone from Pete Maloney’s family.

For his part, Galmeanu was thrilled to take part in this mystery, and to actually find the family in the photographs.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity here. I’m very happy to [have done] that,” he says. “It’s a story I will tell to my grandchild, if that’s possible.”

You can also see Galmeanu’s own photography on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

SHARE this lost-and-found story with everyone you know, and maybe we can find the mystery photographer!