A Canon Autoboy Goes to BangkokK. Praslowicz
A recent thrift store find of mine was a Canon Autoboy Zoom 105 camera with some leftover film still in it. In a fortunate turn of events, the film had photos on it when developed, something which hasn't happened to any of the other thrift store cameras with film in it that I've purchased in 2019.
If you want to watch a video version of this post about the adventure of finding the camera and developing the film, you can view this video right here. Otherwise, scroll past if you only want to see the found photos.
So no Vivian Maier-esque cache of incredible fine-art photography was on this roll. Just some casual vacation snapshots featuring this woman who appears on every, single, photo, on this roll of film. (except one)
I purchased the Canon Autoboy camera in thrift in a store near the shores of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota. Still, I'm reasonably sure that these waters are not the icy waters and rocky shores of Lake Superior. My initial hunch is that this was somewhere in Southeast Asia, or perhaps Hawaii?
First, let's consider the photographs of the woman again. This entire set of photos gives me a "Lover's Gaze" vibe. Who could be the lover behind the camera? Perhaps it is this man posing in a way that just mere friends seldom pose.
If we zoom in on the man's t-shirt in this photo, we see some text that is nearly illegal due to the grain and age of this film. But what it does say in the smaller text is "Concordia Language Villages."
Concordia Language Villages are language immersion camps located in North Central Minnesota. Who knows, maybe the story here is that she came over to do one of these camps. They met there, started dating, and eventually traveled back to her home country together for this vacation? This, however, is all just guesswork and one of a thousand possible scenarios. But also, not exactly knowing what I am looking and wondering what the story is, is a lot of the fun I have in finding stranger's photographs.
Where were these photographs taken?
So, where were these photographs taken if not in Northern Minnesota? Hunting into the photographs, there wasn't much in terms of clues in the signage. Every word I could find printed somewhere was in English. There was also this coiled flag in front of a police station in this photo, which I couldn't find a match for via some casual Google searches.
The temples they are posing against here were the next clue. Searching again for temples of the various countries in Southeast Asia turned up some images of similar-looking architecture in Thailand and Myanmar.
Then there was this particular photograph that provided the clue I needed.
A search for Thailand Royal Guard rewarded me with various photographs of men in the same outfit guarding the Grand Palace in Bankok. Additional photographs from the roll with the palace in it indeed matched up with the building appearing in these photographs!
When were these photographs taken?
I bet you're thinking Hey you dumb idiot! It says 1990 right on the photographs!""
Yes. I see that, but I have my doubts. For one, when I put the batteries into the camera, the DateTime setting defaulted to January 1st, 1990, formatted with the Japanese characters like we see on these pictures. As we can see in the photos, the dates all increment starting from January 1st, 1990. Putting a new battery in and not bothering to set the date because you don't have a pin or anything small enough available to push the little buttons to does so seems a realistic scenario to me.
While I'm not a fashion expert, the clothing doesn't scream 1990 to me. Maybe a few years later, the mid-1990s at the earlierst perhaps?
Then there are the two automobiles in that one photo. I'm not a car guy, so I can't identify them. But perhaps someone reading this would know the year make and model of them to help establish the possible dates?
Perhaps these are from sometime after 2003?
The night before I was about to publish this post, I received a message from a friend who had already watched the video. He did a little digging and came up with a link indicating that Condordia Language Villages used the slogan "Learn. Reach. Grow." for its international day in 2003.