Tuesday 6 February 2024

I'LL BUY THE NEGATIVES...



In all my life it could never be claimed by anyone or myself that I was ever fashionable when it came to the clothes I wore.  For example, look at the flared trousers I'm wearing in the above photo taken in 1978.  I was around 19 and flares had been out of fashion for two or three years as far as I recall.  However, this post isn't really about fashion, it's just me self-indulgently reminiscing about my past and marvelling at how recent these photographs feel to me, while at the same time seeming as if they were taken long ago and far away in an age now lost to history.  (As all ages eventually are in the fullness of time.)

Despite my hyperbole I can readily recall where these pics were taken though.  The first two were on the roof of a derelict farmhouse and riding stable which later became a pub called Whitehills Farm.  (It closed only a few months back.)  The photo-booth pic was taken in my Town Centre post office, and is, I think, the only one (barring my then-pal's wedding photos in Portsmouth that same year) of the two of us together at the same time.  Looking at the first two, it reminds me that, even as 19 year-olds, the pair of us still explored places we had no right to be.  Dangerous places too, as the building was a ruin and could easily have collapsed under us.  


These days my memory isn't always as reliable as it used to be, so I was unsure whether these pics were taken before or after his marriage until I re-read a letter from him postmarked January 16th, asking why he hadn't heard from me since the 'big day' (thus before).  So, 46 years ago captured in a few photographs, prolonging the moments and the time they depict long past their natural shelf-life.  Truly, a camera is a brilliant invention - probably one of the most remarkable in human history.  It can be a pleasant experience looking through old photos, but sometimes also a painful one, as we're reminded of those who are no longer around and just how old we've become.

I've got thousands of photos and it's sad to think that they only really mean something to me as nobody else would be interested in them.  So many moments frozen in time that will one day be discarded when I'm no longer around to look at and enjoy them.  'This Is My Life', but it's a life that cuts no ice with anyone else when it comes to preserving a photographic record of it.  It's quite a sobering thought to realise that, in the great scheme of things, we're really not as significant as we'd like to think we are.  Ah, 1978 - where did you sneak off to when I wasn't looking?  And that goes for every year before or since.


Do you enjoy looking through your old photos, readers, or are your past fashion mistakes and embarrassing hairstyles something you'd much rather prefer to forget?  The comments section awaits your input if you'd like to visit.  Don't be shy now.

16 comments:

Philip Crawley said...

Yeah, I find old photos endlessly fascinating, and have often said that the camera is the only true time machine. Preserving not just family photos but images from the time when cameras began to be widely-used in the late 1800s - showing us people and places as they were well over a century ago.

Now that I no longer work (almost retired) I have had the time to digitise and collate / curate stacks of family pics. A job I'm sure is taking longer than it should as I pause to study photos where I should just scan and label them and move on to the next one.

I find that there's a double whammy effect in not only looking back into your own past via photos, but when you've had children you ask yourself (well I do at least) - where did those little kids go? - they're both adults now!

Another thought-provoking (if not comment-provoking) post as always. Cheers.

Kid said...

Hi PC, I've wondered where you were and how you've been, so glad to know you're still around. One day I'm going to have to do what you're doing and put all my photos onto discs. That way, they'll take up far less space and maybe survive a purge by whoever has to go through my stuff when I'm gone.

I've said before (and I got it from Bob Hope) that whenever I see old photos of myself like the ones on this post, it makes me feel like I've got a son I never knew I had.

Cheers, PC - look after yourself.

B Smith said...

I hope, if you still have hard copies of photos, that you get a pen out and write on the back the details of who the photo is of, place, date etc. Otherwise you may as well throw them out now.

When my dad died a couple of years back, cleaning up revealed a huge collection of photos he'd taken in his early days before getting married. As a shearer he'd worked all over Australia, and the photos reflected that - I think. He hadn't written down what any of them were (except for cases like on the back of a photo of a dry stone wall, he'd written "A wall"), thus rendering their value as any kind of time capsule useless.

Get busy, lad!

Anonymous said...

Kid - The cameras/photography thing's relatable to me, too. A Jack Finney time travel novel makes a very pertinent comment about old photographs:

“Because I’ve always felt a wonder at old photographs not easy to explain. Maybe I don’t need to explain; maybe you’ll recognize what I mean. I mean the sense of wonder, staring at the strange clothes and vanished backgrounds, at knowing that what you’re seeing was once real. That light really did reflect into a lens from these lost faces and objects. That these people were really there once, smiling into a camera. You could have walked into the scene then, touched those people, and spoken to them. You could actually have gone into that strange outmoded old building and seen what now you never can—what was just inside the door.”
― Jack Finney, Time and Again

My father bequeathed a massive collection of old colour slides (& family photos, too), leaving me with the same task you're faced with. Like you say, looking through them is bitter-sweet.

Nowadays, people explore derelict buildings, posting photos of said buildings on the internet (urban explorers?) Maybe yourself & your former pal were ahead of the game!

Phillip

Kid said...

Thing is, BS, the majority of my photos are of places rather than people, and as most of them are local it's unlikely I'd forget where they were of. I really should start writing the dates they were taken on the back though, because that's sometimes harder to remember with any precision. I used to use my old camera's built in date facility, but stopped doing so as it was printed on a corner of the photo and was a bit too intrusive at times.

Kid said...

I like Jack Finney's observations there, P, so thanks for sharing as I can completely relate to them. Ha, I'd love to think that we were ahead of the game, but we didn't usually have a camera with us, and when we did it was merely coincidental. No, we just investigated places for the pure thrill of it, reckless adventurers that we were.

Is Time And Again a book worth reading, would you say? I'll maybe see if my local library has a copy.

Anonymous said...

Kid - The book's still on my 'to read' list, too. So far, I've just read the online samples. Nevertheless, a paragraph like that's a recommendation, unto itself! My old English teacher used extracts from Jack Finney (can't remember what!), so I've always intended following him up, as a writer. 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' is - of course - what Finney's most famous for, nowadays!

Phillip

Kid said...

Thanks, P, I'll be sure to ask for it in my Town Centre library.

McSCOTTY said...

I wish I had taken ( and kept) more photos of my family and friends I still have some pics with my blond mullet, and my red(ish) punk hair, jeeez the the things you do for fashion. In general I stopped taking pics when I was in my early 30s and regret it now.

Kid said...

I regret the fact that my parents didn't take more photos of me growing up, against the background of the different houses we inhabited at the time, McS, as well as me not taking more of places and people before they were changed or gone forever. There must be loads of government aerial photos of places over the decades, but unfortunately, 'birds-eye' view shots aren't how we see a village, town, or city.

McSCOTTY said...

There are a lot if pictures of EK on line And from 1950s and 1980s of shops, mostly in the town centre . Even some You Tube videos of the town in the 1960s and 1970s.

Kid said...

Yeah, I've seen them, McS, and I have old EK guides and other booklets which have parts of the town as they were in my younger days. I've got a folder on my computer with loads of photos of the place as I remember it when I was younger.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, did you know that Bagpuss is 50 years old today?

Kid said...

I did, CJ, because there was an article about it showing on my computer when I signed in this morning. Did YOU know that I have all 13 episodes on DVD? (And some merchandise.) You do now. Where have you been for the last few days? Got a cold?

Colin Jones said...

You may own the DVD, Kid, but have you ever watched it?

Kid said...

Can't remember whether I have or not, CJ. Could be the latter.



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