Book Review: The Lost Rolls
Two hundred rolls of undeveloped film became newly revisited in Ron Haviv’s The Lost Rolls. This captivating collection, taken over the course of 1988-2012, focuses on buried rolls of unprocessed film that Haviv uncovered and brings them to light.
Extra rolls shot on secondary cameras were thrown into the bottom of a drawer, cast down as films Haviv never intended on processing. The rolls were edits of lucky accidents; images from a cut of time in a different dimension.
When Haviv discovered these undeveloped rolls, he felt compelled to see what was on them. As he reviewed pieces from his own past, the developed results became documents of his own recollection; each photograph a single remnant from a time that once was. Haviv uncovered a penetrating look at the relationship between photography and memory.
The photographs ranged from riots in Northern Ireland, gangs in El Salvador, Iraq’s refugees to friends, family, and past girlfriends. Haviv discovered a wild mix of lost memories, all captured and forgotten, which forced him to remember the events of his personal and documented past.
Not all the photographs withstood their stay in the drawer. The exposed frames fell victim to an accumulation of dust, humidity, and time itself. Although not perfect, they were beautiful. The whole range of these films are represented as color negatives, color slides, and in black and white. Each roll is a unique display of artwork and a representation of history from the past.
The Lost Rolls highlights an inherent aspect of photography. Haviv’s photos were simply agents of his own memory. Ron Haviv re-acquaints himself with his past through his uncanny ability to navigate the world, and bring forward the unexpected untold tales. His images bring insight to his way of seeing the world’s changing status and physicality.
The Lost Rolls was published by Blurb in 2015.