Old photos which link with my photographic past

Posting my ‘photo bio’, from which I eventually worked out how to make an ‘About me’ menu heading (‘heading’ is a misnomer – it’s at the bottom!), I wrote that maybe I could find a print of a picture taken on the camera which started me in taking pictures on film, way back in 1951. I think I’ve found it – just one so I thought I’d do this post as a Postscript. The one immediately below is not it, but please bear with me.

Picture from 1940 showing grandmother, great aunt and the author

Grandmother, great aunt and me – print certainly made on Velox ‘gaslight’ paper by my grandmother in 1940

But before getting into that, I’d like to ask for suggestions from some of you ‘film buffs’ on blogs to follow. I’ve been trying to find some which talk about film photography, as I try to do, rather than just post pictures with, perhaps, a few words about them. A search has failed to come up with anything. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the picture posts I follow, though very few give what to me would be interesting basic info – eg, film, lens and camera. I really enjoy just looking at the photos, and the words if you write a bit about them. But I don’t seem to be able to find any blogs which discuss the photography , including the ‘classic cameras’, behind the photos. Any suggestions?

Three brothers on a beach in 1951

Going down: the author, brother 1, brother 2. 1951, probably Bridlington. Probably taken on my Box Brownie

Back to my PS. The first picture at the top was, I’m pretty sure, printed by my (paternal) grandmother in 1940. The other lady is her sister-in-law, my great aunt Clara, and that’s me she’s holding. From the leaves on the trees and the summer dresses I think it is June-July 1940, which would make me 1-2 months old. Who took the picture? I don’t know but it could have been my father though my mother is no longer here to ask whether he was home on leave then; he was a sailor in the Royal Navy and of course we were at war at that time. I’m pretty sure my grandmother printed it, you can see she didn’t get it completely square in the printing frame, but the way the name of the paper – Velox –  is printed on the reverse dates the paper between 1940 and the early ’50s. The only thing I cannot fathom is why this print has a warm, going towards sepia, tone. Velox was known for its blue-black; to get warm you had to go for Kodak Royal Bromesco, so did my grandmother tint it? It seems unlikely though she did come from an age when sepia was the thing. Does Velox go brown with age, perhaps if not fixed properly? I don’t know.

Three brothers on holiday, probably Bridlington promenade

Me, wearing my new ‘size to grow in to’ school blazer, with brothers; same holiday as the beach photo. School blazer on holiday? … don’t ask

Velox (‘speedy’ from the Greek – we’d hardly call it fast now!) was invented by the same guy who invented Bakelite and is the ‘gaslight’ paper I mentioned in my ‘About me’. He sold the rights etc to Kodak at the turn of the century so it was Kodak paper by the time this print was made.

The second picture, also printed on Velox, could well have been taken on ‘my’ reward Kodak Box Brownie (probably a Brownie Six-20 C). It was taken in 1951 and it’s quite likely in Bridlington. It was taken I think in the same holiday as the third picture, but I would guess that this latter was taken by a ‘promenade’ photographer. The pictures must have been taken in July or August and quite why I am wearing the blazer and tie for the school to which I would go in September that year I don’t know – did I want to show off that I’d passed the 11+ exam for which I got the camera? Note the size of the blazer – bought ‘to grow into’. That continued well into my teens.

The suthor, 'wearing' some of his photo kit, mother, and a new grandchild in a pram

Valley gardens, Harrogate, Spring 1983. The author with one of the cameras which impressed me most, an Olympus OM (I think) and a Leicina, with mother proudly wheeling her new grandchild

The final picture was taken in 1983 and the place is the Valley Gardens in Harrogate. The tulips and cherry blossom tell us it is late Spring, though the film was not developed until June (the print is dated). However, despite being kitted out for photography (I’m pretty sure that’s one of the Olympus OMs I mentioned strung on my shoulder, and certainly with it is the case containing the Leica 8mm Leicina movie camera). I obviously didn’t take the picture but it could have been on one of my cameras – even then I often carried one with colour and one with black and white film. I’m with my mother, who had just ‘acquired’ a new grandchild so was anxious to be seen pushing the pram.

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