Archivi categoria: lostandfound

The Mysterious Case of the Returning Leica

In November 2016, I was in a transitional part of my life (I still am) and was considering selling my Leica M2 and switching to a digital Ricoh GR. I listed the camera on several Facebook camera trading groups and the Australian/UK Craigslist alternative, Gumtree. Long story short, I was scammed while trying to sell it.

The signs were obvious now, looking back, but I was desperate and really needed to believe what I was being told was true. I first received a text message suggesting that I keep in contact with a buyer via email. I then received an email that night saying that the buyer was an oceanographer and that they were in contact with me via a satellite Internet connection from a research ship.

A story like this surely would have tipped off anyone… if not for the fact that an uncle of mine has in fact worked on a marine research ship.

I was sent fake PayPal statements via email, and so I stupidly sent the camera to China, of all places. Days went by and the money never came. I only realized it was a scam when I received an email supposedly from PayPal, saying that there was an error in their system and I was overpaid by a thousand dollars and that I should wire another thousand to the buyer before receiving any of the money.

After grieving over the fact that I had lost the camera, I found myself in a pretty dire financial position and unable to pursue an internship position in Jakarta and potentially move to Melbourne sooner. But I eventually made it out over to Melbourne, and since arriving I sold my Ricoh and then here I was, a photographer in Melbourne with no camera.

Then suddenly out of the blue in March 2017 (4 months since I thought I had lost the Leica) it reappeared at my old address in Perth. From there, I got it sent over here to Melbourne by my aunt.

I once said that the M2 and I didn’t really bond, perhaps trying to mask the hurt of the fact that I had lost it. But clearly I wasn’t thinking straight as it’s a much more beautiful camera than I remember. After receiving it again this week, I shot a roll of Agfa Vista 400 (essentially Fuji Superia 400) and have had some low-res scans made of the images. Even these are wonderful.

I have many thoughts about abandoning film in favor of digital. While I still feel that the Ricoh GR is an incredibly amazing little camera, the issues of sensor dust kept plaguing the one I had. The GR belonging to my friend Justin also died out of the blue (a camera he bought due to my suggestion). All of these issues suggest to me that it is just not a robust system, especially if you are shooting everyday.

My particular M2 is over 50 years old and I guess here’s hoping for another 50. I’ll take it a sign from the universe that I’m basically supposed to be shooting film. Below are some other color photos I took before losing it last year.

If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s that you should be patient when trading and selling your gear online. There could be a whole array of reasons why the camera came back (most likely that the thousand dollar transfer was the real scam and the address in China was fake), yet another thing I took back is that I guess sometimes miracles do happen and that film really does never die.

About the author: Emil Prakertia Raji is a photographer and musician based in Melbourne, Australia. You can find more of his work on his website and Instagram. This article was also published here.

SmugMug is Helping Save 200 Million Photos Lost when Picturelife Died


When photo storage site Picturelife shut down, users were left high and dry without a way to access and/or download the images they had stored there. This didn’t sit well with SmugMug, who reached out to Picturelife and, today, is helping reunite those photographers with their lost images.

In all, some 200 million files were lost into the ones and zeroes of Internet history when Picturelife went under—but out of this sad tale came 200 million opportunities for SmugMug to be both altruistic, and maybe snag a customer or two for themselves.

It’s important to note that it will cost you nothing to take advantage of this offer from SmugMug. It’s something SmugMug was adamant about:

Our number one concern is putting as many Picturelife photos and videos as we can into the hands of their rightful owners. We’re making their photos available to them at no charge and no obligation. If some of Picturelife’s former customers want to become a part of SmugMug’s family of photographers, we’ll welcome them with open arms, but that’s not our primary goal.

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If you are a former Picturelife user who lost photos when the service went belly-up, you can now retrieve your photos for free. This FAQ page explains exactly how, but the basic steps are as follows:

  1. Click “Retrieve My Photos” button on this page.
  2. Verify your Picturelife info by putting in your email address/username and password.
  3. Create a SmugMug account using their 14-day free trial
  4. Select your privacy options and begin transferring.

That’s it. Once the transfer is done, you can download all of your files—photos, videos, PSDs, etc.—for free and close your SmugMug account before the 14-day trial period ends, or you can sign up for one of their paid accounts to keep your files on SmugMug indefinitely. They’ll even offer you a 50% discount to sign up (hey, it’s not 100% altruistic…).

Again, we only covered the basics here. If you want to find out more, head over to this comprehensive FAQ page.

Of course, SmugMug is hoping to get some users out of this, but given the amount of work it took to set this all up and the fact that they may not gain much of anything in the end, it’s a really cool move by a company popular for treating their customers very well. Kudos to them.

The Mystery of an Abandoned Bag of Kodachrome Slides in NYC

Here’s a fascinating piece of journalism published today by the New York Times. The 10.5-minute video, titled “Fragments of a Life: A Curbside Mystery,” is about how Times reporter Deborah Acosta found an abandoned bag of Kodachrome slides on a street corner. In their quest to solve the mystery, Acosta and her live Facebook audience learn about life, love, and loss.

Finding Lost Portraits from Deadliest Catch, or: The Importance of Extra Backups

The Deadliest Catch photographed by Blair Bunting

There will always be photo shoots that test your creativity, and sometimes there are campaigns that seem to just give you incredible images. Deadliest Catch is definitely a campaign that lends its hand to stunning visuals… at the cost of your comfort.

The moment you get onto the plane from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor, the idea that this is going to be a rough environment is immediately present. The other passengers on the plane look rough for wear and are most likely on one of the fishing boats that are about to depart into the unforgiving Bering Sea.

Only having been there for a couple of weeks total, I know that I have met my quota, but will always appreciate the times I had. It is for this reason that I was heartbroken when the hard drive with my images went missing many years ago. Of all the shooting I did, I was left to only the images I had on my site (four total) to represent my time on that God forsaken island… or so I had thought.

The Deadliest Catch photographed by Blair Bunting

In the process of moving into our new place, there were tons of people carrying boxes to the different rooms of the house. It is an effort of futility to get the stuff to the correct room, but it proved fruitful. Misplaced in the boxes for the master bathroom (yes, bathroom) was a SanDisk flash drive. If you have ever had the moment where you find a flash drive and are excited to see what treasures reside on it, you know the feeling I had.

This drive was the jackpot of lost drives for me…

You see, I have a process that goes into my photo shoots that extends beyond when I leave the set all the way to getting home from the flight. I backup the cards to my computer and then from there put them on an external drive that goes in the camera case. However, on photo shoots where my camera case might have to be checked, I also put the images on a flash drive and mail that drive to myself insured for $1,000 because this guarantees they will not lose it.

The Deadliest Catch photographed by Blair Bunting

Now, as has always been the case, my camera and hard drive return home safely and I work off them for the edits. However, with the Deadliest Catch campaign, I sent the hard drive home with the good people from Discovery. I used the files I had from the CF cards themselves, and then reformatted them for another campaign… forgetting to back them up to the computer.

For years I could picture the images in my mind, but could not show you what we created on the crab boats of Dutch Harbor… until now.

The Deadliest Catch photographed by Blair Bunting

In that serendipitous moment of misplaced moving items sat a flash drive… the flash drive. It was the one I had mailed to myself from Anchorage before getting on my flight home, only to misplace it when prepping to fly out for another photo shoot.

So here are them images I wanted to show you for so many years, I hope they were worth the wait.

The Deadliest Catch photographed by Blair Bunting

Most importantly, I found the original image I shot of Phil (above), a good friend that always held my seat at the table and a good man.

About the author: Blair Bunting is a commercial advertising photographer based out of Phoenix, Arizona. You can see more of his work and connect with him through his website, blog, and Twitter. This article was also published here.