An interloper in history

Touching up history

Cameras have been on my mind recently, and when I look through old family photographs I think how lucky we now are in this digital age. Taking photographs is easy, effortless and with the press of button or touch screen can be sent to others or printed out. We can use a range of programmes to manipulate them on our computer, tweaking colours, sharpening images, even airbrushing things or people unwanted. Who says the camera never lies! It may have been true at one time, but no longer.

hardly pocket sized

Say cheese for the next five minutes or so.

Nowadays we rarely think twice before we take a photograph, nor do we limit ourselves to the number of shots taken. My mode of action is to take plenty and hope that out of these I’ll surely have a reasonable shot. Before the digital age this usually involved carrying around numerous spools of film, preferably those that took twenty four or thirty six photos (eight was at one time the norm). So lots of hiding in the lee of bushes or crouched beneath jackets to exclude light while the film in the camera was changed. Then there was the processing — and the mounting cost of all your enthusiastic efforts.

Squeeze box or camera?

Looks more like an accordion than a camera. Part of a display in the museum in Tavira in the Algarve.

I had an uncle who was into processing his own films, black and white of course. His bathroom would be littered with trays and jars of chemicals, while across the bath snakes of film would writhe, clothes-pegged from a length of string. His enthusiasm was obvious, though his never-ending technical talk of film speeds and exposures caused eyes to roll ceiling-wards with mutters of Here we go again!

Adding red lips

Glass plates and photographs could be tinted to add colour and a bit of life.

With films processed, the yellow envelope was rifled, its contents shown to relatives and friends, then stuck at the back of a drawer or cupboard. Scanners opened up new possibilities. You could scan and download photos to your computer to actually do something with them. Cheers!

Beam me up.

In the days before moving pictures people flocked to lantern slide viewings.

Two guys and a gal.

Any guess as to what this might be? You can see the tinting in faces and details on costumes.

Inheritance of an ancient cine projector and films owned by an uncle who spent many years in India in the 1930s and 1940s, means we have a trove of moving images of an era long gone. Occasionally we drag out the ancient projector and set it up, select a film and then watch the small square format of images which look as if someone off-camera had long hair that had blown across the scene being filmed. Numerous stops as the film jams and burns, or breaks from brittleness. But somehow that only adds to the sense of being an onlooker, an interloper in history.

Look at me, guys

Look at me, guys. In less PC times a swimming costume clad female appeared to be the way to sell film. Can’t think all photographers were men, however…

Now it’s so easy. And instead of stiff figures with rigid smiles, their poses held for ages until captured on a glass plate, we now oooh! and aaah!, laugh and giggle at what we capture with camera, phone, iPad or camcorder. Family historians of the future certainly aren’t going to be at a loss for images to capture our era.

Ilford gal

Hi, guys, look at me. Women in swimsuits sell films. Right?









About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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4 Responses to An interloper in history

  1. bebs1 says:

    That is so true but somehow I miss those old good days. Now I couldn’t remember when was the last time I had my digital photos processed. Am sure I have several photos deposited in several websites which passwords I couldn’t even remember anymore. Or maybe they are lost in the clouds with no chance or recovery, who knows.

    • Ah, that’s one of the downsides of the Internet — you can forget what is where, and if you’re like me can never remember the passwords for many different sites and where I noted them down. But it’s so great to see photos others have taken. They tell so much about their lives and the places they stay and visit, and all the different cultures they spring from.

  2. You´re right, we rarely think twice before snapping a picture and at times end up with way too many and not always great. I use my clean out time as a relaxing moment. Today is a rainy day in Tokyo, perfect for organizing pictures, digital and paper alike. Have a wonderful Gucci box and my paper inspiration cuts will end up in there.

    • You’re obviously better at clearing out than I am. I hoard and hate to throw stuff out just in case I might want it at some time in the future.Do post a photo of your wonderful Gucci box so we can all drool over it.

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