Technology is improving all the time, and often, we believe that’s better. It’s definitely true with photography — our obsession with HD, more megapixels and how we want it all on Instagram ASAP. In our urgency to evolve, we sometimes lose sight of the past, until something re-emerges and reminds us to slow down. That there is beauty in our history. That’s what happened recently in this newly discovered retro photo series.
Photographer Meagan Abell knows a lot about pictures. A wedding photographer by trade, she stumbled upon four old medium format negatives in a thrift store a number of weeks back. She could tell they were approximately from the ’50s, so she decided to purchase them and bring them home. She had them scanned in and when she got the results back, she was absolutely stunned. “My first thought was honestly… probably not something you can publish! My next thought was, ‘I NEED TO FIND THIS PHOTOGRAPHER,'” Meagan tells us.
The series looks to feature two different women (possibly on different days). Both women are wearing ’50s dresses, contemplatively and calmly walking in the ocean — at times, waist-deep — with stunning backdrops of vibrant sunsets. (Anyone else get a Kate Chopin’s The Awakening vibe?) The images are completely and totally breathtaking, capturing stillness and the expansive rush of the ocean all at the same time.
Also, the effect of the old film gives the images an incredibly haunting and romantic feel. Instagram filters, eat your heart out. Meagan knew immediately she had to share these images with the world. “I’m such a sharer, I love connecting with people over mutual interests and stories, and I just knew these images had to be seen,” she tells us. “Plus what better way to find someone in an obscure photograph than having the Internet hunt them down?”
So, Meagan published the photos in a Facebook post that has since been shared almost 8000 times, along with this plea:
“NOW this is where I need the Internet’s help. I would absolutely love to find the women in these photographs/the photographer who took them. The only info I have is that the negatives were found in a thrift store on Hull St. in Richmond, VA. They are medium format, and judging by the style of dress, made in 1940-1950. The owner of the thrift store had no idea where they came from. I’m posting the best/clearest scans of the images, so if y’all could share this around, HOPEFULLY we can make it go viral and find the original photographer/subjects!!”
She urges people to use the hashtag #FindtheGirlsOntheNegatives as they’re sharing. About why it’s personally important for her to find the makers of this photo series, Meagan says, “I always love finding out the stories behind images, and these are so striking, I’m dying to learn the women’s stories. Plus I hate not knowing who the original photographer is in general, I always want to give correct credit to the artist.”
We asked her what she would do if she found the photographer or the subjects and she said, “First off I want to hug them, because these images have been a huge inspiration for me. And I want to finally put the correct names to the faces, and have them tell me the background behind it all. And also hopefully get some full front portraits of them!”
So, let’s do this, Internet. Let’s help #FindtheGirlsIntheNegatives.
Do you know who these women are? Tell us in the comments below!(Photos via Meagan Abell)