Working on a cruise ship, developing crew films. Some guy would get films sent from his wife, we would develop. A few raunchy shots of the wife in various stages of undress.
We assumed tripod and self-timer were involved.
But, no. In one set of shots there was a mirror in the background. Their son (maybe around 10-12) was taking the photos!
A guy comes in saying he wants to pick up his photos, so as usual we take his name and go to the drawer to look for them.
"Hmm, nothing there by that name" I say, "Perhaps another name?"
"No" he says, so I asked when he brought the film in to be developed.
"It was a disposable camera" says the guy. I say, "okay, so when did you bring in the camera to be developed?"
"IT WAS A DISPOSABLE CAMERA" he says.
After a bit of toing and froing, turns out he took the term "disposable camera" literally, so threw it in the garbage bin right after using it. When I asked him how he expected the photos to get to us from the bin, he said "I dunno, satellites or something?"
This was 1999. Like a £5 cardboard camera is gonna have satellite communication ffs.
I develop film right now. We got my favorite thing recently.
So when you look through a roll, you get some idea of a story.
We got one roll recently. Paris vacation, shots of the Eiffel Tower, and so on. Then guy doing drugs in his hotel room. Then 3 shots later, it's him in his underwear in that same hotel room, holding a goat's head. The flash was on too, so the goat's eyes are glowing.
No context, nothing. I love it.
Use to develop film from a prison. They'd give the inmates disposable cameras for some reason. I think they were instructed to take pictures of their friends so the inmates would reveal who's in what gang... I don't know.
Any-who, between pictures of dudes making gang signs and posing in groups, there would be pictures of finger-paintings, which I thought was kind of sweet.
When I was about 16-17 I worked for CVS as a photo tech. I once had a roll that was a series of trophy pictures of naked women all laying in the same bed. Some of them happened to be under 18 as I went to high school with them.
I told my manager she needed to take a look at this, and she said when the guy came in that she wanted to talk to him. I called him, told him his rolls were all set and when he came in she had cops waiting for him.
It was scary.
So my Aunt has a picture of her and her kids in front of their farm house.
Unfortunately, she accidentally superimposed the picture of her mother-in-law in her funeral casket so she was hovering in the sky above her grandchildren.
My cousin called it "Grandma Levitating," and my Aunt had it in her house for years.
I worked at a camera store in my high schools and college days, and we had a photo lab in the back.
The most memorable images I remember printing were from 1989, from the Tiananmen Square riots. You know, the man holding up the line of tanks (The Tank Man)? And the 200+ people who were killed? It was a big deal in world at that time, and especially in college towns for a few reasons.
First, the protesters were mostly college-aged Chinese. Second, there were a lot of Chinese grad students on campuses in the US, and they felt deeply impacted by this. Many knew people protesting in China.
We had students coming into the store with photos they took off the TV screen so they could reproduce them in the hundreds to send back to China to circumvent the regime's oppressive control of the media.
I'll never forget those events, and the students' desire to do their part, even though they were 1/2 the world away.
We gave them massive discounts on the orders, too.
I had a summer job developing photos (among other tasks) at a major American pharmacy/retail chain about ten years ago. The photo development process itself was fairly uncomplicated, as a machine automated most of the work. I would load the 35mm roll into the compartment, seal it in, select a few settings, and the pictures would pop out in a few minutes.
The store wasn't usually very busy, so sometimes I'd look through people's photos. There were the usual assortment of family trips, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, awkward proto-selfies, photo screw-ups of people's feet and blurred walls. But every couple of weeks, I'd load in an inconspicuous roll of film, and out would pop disturbing pictures.
Corpses. A stainless steel tray holding some organs. People who died in awful ways. It got to be pretty disturbing. I would just finish putting photos of a kid's birthday party into an envelope for the customer to pick up, go to the machine to pick up the next batch, and see detailed pictures of murdered people. A couple of the other staff would always demand to know when the Sick Pics would turn up, so they could have a look, too. We speculated, that there was a serial killer in town, and that he was brazenly taunting us with his work. Of course, we had the customer's last name, first initial, and phone number on the packet we'd keep the photos in, ready for them to come and pick it up.
He came in one day to pick up his shots while I was working the photo area. When he told me his last name, he must have noticed that I paused a little longer than normal before retrieving his photos, and he gave me a wry little smile. "You've seen my work?" he asked me. I stammered out some kind of affirmative response. His little smile grew a little more. "Don't get any weird ideas, kid. I'm the county coroner."
Back in high school I worked at a photo lab. I come in one day, grab a roll, and start doing my thing just like I did every day. The first roll I grabbed had the most convincing UFO pictures I had ever seen and even 2 or 3 with what appeared to be an Alien in a field, again, like nothing I've ever seen. No Sci-fi can compete with what I saw in those few pictures.
Not 5 minutes later a man walks in asking for the photos I just developed. I hand them to him and he leans in real serious and asks me, "Did ya look at em?" I jokingly said, "Sir, I don't have time to look at half the pictures we develop." Then he paid me and left.
I worked on a photo desk in a supermarket for 3 years, the craziest one I ever had was when a guy asked to print off his wedding pictures from his phone, didn't realise he'd selected everything on there to be printed, and ended up with a bunch of printouts of him getting it on with another guy just before the wedding with the bride.
We had a client who always brought rolls of what looked like mediocre quality nude model pics. They were on a basic white background. They were the formulaic poses, and the girls didn't look particularly stoked to be there.
One day, he brings three rolls in and we get to developing. It's myself and my friend in the shop at the time and I was on the printer. The three rolls were of two women, a bunch of individual pics, and some together. Their demeanor seemed to go downhill as their state of undress increased; smiling to sad to almost blank. I got a bad feeling and showed my friend.
She said she'd developed some the others the previous day that looked off too. Luckily he hadn't picked them up when he dropped these off. The girls looked drugged.
We immediately called the cops (it was a one hour job.) Luckily, they got there before he did. Our boss was pissed that we breached client confidentiality.
When the article came out three days later that he'd drug girls, photograph them, and then sexually molest them (including some who were 15 and 16,) I felt vindicated. And guilty that I hadn't paid more attention before.
A woman would always bring in pics of her terminally ill daughter enjoying life (trips to Disney and other exotic locales, birthday party, half birthday party, etc.) One day, she came in and told us the girl had passed. She hands us two rolls and says these are the last she has of her girl.
We were all sad because we'd sort of gotten to know her through her smile in the pictures. Well, the last two rolls were of this girl in her casket, and people from the funeral posing with her. Okay, I get it, some people need to document things to heal. No judgment.
When it came time for her to send out thank you cards to people for supporting them, she came in for 200 reprints of a picture of her daughter. Smiling on one of her trips? At the birthday party? With her siblings? Nope. In the casket. It broke my heart.
Had a guy drop off a roll of film that he said he found and had no idea what was on it. Developed it and it was almost like a frame-by-frame of a couch in the middle of a junkyard with two guys pouring gasoline on it and lighting it on fire.
When he came to pick it up he was baffled, because he was one of the guys in the photo but had no recollection of that day.
I used to be a tech in a one hour photo lab, back when we still processed the film in the store.
Some years back I had a customer bring in a couple of rolls of film and make me promise to delete them from our machine's archives when they were done. The images were from Sept. 11, 2001. This guy was there and took pictures of the towers as they burned, but waited nearly a decade to get them developed. So I was the first and likely one of the few people who will ever see those particular photos of that day. True to my word I never shared them with anyone (yes, we do share crazy pictures with our coworkers), but I still remember them.
Makes you wonder how many photos like that exist in the world. Unfortunately he'd waited too long to develop them, so some of the pictures were lost, as negatives are sensitive and can easily be damaged over time due to x-ray, heat, moisture, or light exposure.
I worked for a company that had a photo printing site that did photo books and gifts.
A client created a photo book comprised of various images of his poop. The book culminated in a toilet selfie - it looked like the camera was placed inside the toilet bowl, as you could see the rim of the seat and everything, and the guy was standing over the toilet.
He ordered about ten copies, too, assumedly for his friends.
Creepy guy would ride his bike to the store about two hours before close and spend the entire time on the Kodak machine. He would smile and laugh to himself and end up only printing 2-5 pictures over that time. Dude was late 40ish and hit on the 16 year old girls working with me, so they'd switch with me if I was stocking rather than stand with him.
He knew the code to the machine and would delete what he was doing when he was done, along with immediately putting the pictures in the bag when they printed. My curiosity got the best of me, so I changed the code.
He came in, did his thing and then tried to delete his pictures. Flipped out when he couldn't delete. Yelled screamed, etc. Finally left the store.
He was taking pictures of his neighbors through his blinds and then adding bubble captions. I can't recall the details but it was creepy. Never saw him again after that.
I worked at a photolab for three years back in the 90's.
The creepiest thing was finding out that the guy who worked with me was printing doubles of anything that was out of the norm, and had them all in photo albums in his apartment. I was shocked to see that he had about 40 photo albums, full of our customer's photos in his own private collection.
Creeped me out a little, especially since lots of the photos were of the NSFW variety.
Worked at the national drug store/photo place about 10 years back. Seen it all. The best one BY FAR was grandma and her grandson's first camera (I'm guessing he was between 5-8 years old). I believe it was disposable, and for sure it also had the ability to do panoramic shots.
This little man took all kinds of pictures, I was really impressed. We're talking toys, dinner, inside, outside, he's gonna be a photographer no doubt. He even set up a bunch of the army figurines on the couch and table in a war, and took pictures of the battle in action. Really cool stuff.
Imagine my surprise when I get to one of the panoramic shots... a giant TURD in the toilet... like for real. Nice long one too, the kind that wouldn't go down without breaking in half... Best part, the panoramic shots WON'T EVEN FIT IN THE ENVELOPE.
So now I'm holding this 5x7 envelope with a panoramic shot of HALF A TURD sticking out of it in the claims bin. I figure best thing to do is put the turd picture in the back and reverse the pictures so the backs are facing front.
An hour or so later of course gma returns with her little boy. At the counter I give her the pack and, as they are paying, of course they open the pack to look. She's looking and being a supportive grandma "oo so nice, oooh I like this one you took it?" and the kid is SO HAPPY. Finally she gets to the panoramic turd (at this point I can barely contain myself...). She looks and goes "oh... wow... that's... you?" Her little man looks up with the proudest eyes I ever seen a grandson have ever, and says "I MADE THAT!"
"Yes you did little man, and it was a good one too..." is what I should have said. Instead I probably said something like "That'll be 9.95, do you have your membership card today?" I've seen a lot of stuff at that job. But only ONCE in my life, have I ever seen a panoramic turd, and I will never forget it.
I have an old college buddy several states away that used to work for Walmart and develop pictures there.
He phoned me up one day, because he had a woman who was developing pictures of me. Remember, this is states away, so my friend, upon recognizing me in the pictures, got worried. All these shots of me just standing around talking.
He finally mustered up the courage to ask her about the photos, and she told him about a great tour she had in the Black Hills and her lovely tour guide (which was me).
He was less worried after that. I was pretty blown away by the coincidence, however.
I used to work at a Walgreens in the photo lab and was standing there watching a stack of photos print off. They appeared to be of an Easter party for some young children at first, then it went to all the children sitting at a dining room table with their Easter baskets in front of them.
First picture, they looked happy.
Second, they were frowning.
Third, downright crying.
By the fourth or fifth it became apparent what their issue was: there was a giant stem of broccoli in each of their baskets.
Comments may have been edited for clarity.