Sunday Inspiration: Imagine Possibility

by Apr 3, 20226 comments

Hidden Treasure of Untold Photo stories

Photographer Charles Daniels has been photographing famous rockers like Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, The Who’s Pete Townshend, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and others since the late 1960s. However, tens of thousands of his photos have never been seen — they are sitting in roughly 3,200 rolls of undeveloped film in his Boston home.

I LOVE this story of a photographer who takes joy in playing with photography and lighting while capturing candids of people at work and play  – but is not concerned about labelling or developing his images.   I love to think of the surprises in all these unseen photos, the possibility of new understanding and perspective.  And I especially love the idea that those stories will now be exposed and shared.  I hope there will be updates because I definitely want to know more.

Read more about Charles Daniels’ experiences (he took candid shots of musicians in the available light; no posing of subjects or using a flash) – and the project to bring his images to life decades after they were taken.

Photographer’s 3,200 Undeveloped Film Rolls Hold History of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Imagine Possiblity

The article on Charles Daniels’ made me think of one of Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe story of a family member who had held on to a lottery ticket that he swore was the big winner – but refused to scratch it.

The Lottery Ticket

Louis believed having a dream was better than having a pile of money.
Money.  Well, money could cause no end of problems.
“It’s way better to stick with dreams,” he said.

Stuart was a gifted storyteller who could always have listeners crying from laughter through a whole story – and crying from emotion at the end.  Canadians familiar with his long-running CBC radio show welcomed him into their homes and hearts and feel like family.  Every year on his Christmas show, he would call listeners to ask them about holiday stories they had shared.  One of my favourite things about those episodes was that without fail, all the people who answered his unexpected call chatted as if Stuart was a close personal friend and it was perfectly natural for him to call them at home.

Many of us can hear just the beginning of a story and start laughing.  At a dinner gathering can often find people quoting lines from particular favourites.  Here is Stuart telling his classic story:  The Lottery Ticket.


The Lottery Ticket – Stuart McLean

Tomorrow, when you wake up, 
I want you to tell me exactly what you would do if you had a million dollars.
I want you to tell me your heart’s desire.

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


  1. Alice Gerard

    What a fascinating story! The idea of piecing together a history from thousands of undeveloped photographs is totally amazing. It is sort of like opening a time capsule, in my opinion.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I agree, Alice. Definitely a time capsule – and what a large number of possible surprises and stories. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Paul Taubman

    3,200 rolls of undeveloped film sitting in his house… I cannot imagine what that is like. I know that film has a shelf-life. I wonder how many of those rolls are “undevelopable” because the film has segregated over time. My fingers are crossed that we get to see some amazing pictures!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I had the same thoughts — along with amazement at being able to leave them and without labels. When I used to shoot film I couldn’t wait to get everything developed; I was too curious to see what was there. And like you, wonder about how well they will fare after so much time. I can understand the developers wanting to be part of such a fascinating and challenging project.
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Lily Leung

    Love this post, Mary Elizabeth. I have to go back to finish the story of the photographer. And I love Stuart McClean and the Vinyl Cafe. My favourite story is about the Christmas turkey. I miss the Dead Dog Cafe, too. And I don’t want to win a million dollars.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for the comment, Lily. I love the Christmas turkey story too – as well as all his other Christmas stories. It is hard to pick a favourite. And I used to also enjoy the Dead Dog Cafe. I was intrigued by the idea of keeping an unscratched lottery ticket to hold on to the dreams of what might be. And I liked the ending of that story too because of passing on the tradition.

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