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Category Archives: Children

Birthday Party

Two moms enjoying a chat at a toddlers birthday late 1950s. A classic snapshot that perfectly captures the tête-à-têtes between the mothers with an offbeat composition. Tempting to crop it but I liked the deep well of the veranda space and the way the balloons poke in at the top.

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The square format slide had degenerated to a murky magenta. I considered converting it to black and white but in the end liked this soft pink shade, with desaturated color.

 

Petting the Horses

Who has not stopped on a dirt road to climb a fence and pet the horses? Such a lovely found snapshot with two teenage girls gently connecting with a horse and foal in the mid 1960s.

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This was a genuine moment on a family holiday, but surely the photographer had seen images of beautiful young women and girls with horses, its a genre in popular art and has been for more than a century. This reminds me how, consciously or unconsciously, we mimic images in popular media, art and advertising when we pick up a camera. This is a well documented phenomenon in vernacular photography. I don’t mean to destroy the charm of the image with this comment, it is a wonderful photograph in every way!

 

Camping Girls

Four young girls playing at camping, mid 1960s. The wooden fruit boxes have Graymead Farm printed on the side, and Google tells me that this is probably the present-day one in the Villiersdorp area, Western Cape. It was probably a fruit farm. Love how this shows us a contrasting childhood for girls to the norms today. Nothing here is pretty or pink. These girls are down and dusty, barefoot campers, having fun with the simplest of props. It even looks like they’ve been making fire. Its rough and earthy and I love it. Respect to the parents who allowed their girls to create this experience and lovingly photographed it.

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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Camping, Children, Nature, South Africa, Summer

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Double Kodak Moment with Hairnet

The cultural practice of photography is usually hidden – you see the snapshot that was taken not the photographer in the act of taking it. That’s why I love this 1966 find in which a woman is photographing two girls in the small front garden of a house in what looks like Mowbray, Cape Town. I haven’t identified the camera but, with it’s top viewfinder, it looks like a 1940s or 1950s model. Their names are written on the frame: Lesley, Gillian and Alison. Maybe you know them? I almost feel like I do.

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Creepy Fairground Reindeer

Fairground models and rides can be really creepy. In broad daylight with happy children, the coffers filling, ice creams dropping, and adults loafing around its a joyful picture. But just imagine how these painted papier-mâché beasts must have looked when it was deserted and lonely, in the wee dark hours, bathed in moonlight. Spooky! This was taken at the Danbury Fair, Connecticut, in 1958.

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I lifted a reindeer and had fun working him into this 1970s snapshot of a young guy in a portrait museum. That sharp-eyed, sinister reindeer is looking down the stairwell and making the poor kid nervous!

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in America, Children, Fairs&amusement parks

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One way round!

Probably England, late 1950s. Mom and son on a seaside boat ride. Quite a solid little boat that one, its certainly not made of plastic.

Seaside amusement parks and areas, with boat their rides and many other facilities seen here in the background, were an important part of mid century culture. Outings to seaside amusement parks were a choice activity in the era, and appear frequently in my collection.

Read more about the growth, decline and evolution of amusement parks in the USA: Here.

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Before and after

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Boys at the River

An African childhood, lived outdoors in nature, with friends. This is an inspiring image and an experience I am sure little boys all over the world long for. I love the little huddle, and the way they’re completely involved in their conversation –  unaware of the adult taking the photograph.

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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Africa, Children, Nature, River

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My car your car 1950s

This charming family photograph shows each person with their vehicle of choice, be it the latest Ford, 3-wheeled tricycle or go-cart.

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Posted by on October 9, 2013 in Children, Old cars, People

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Toddler Twins in a Park

Such a beautiful, compelling image from Italy in the late 1950s. These two twin girls, with their short black hair, matching outfits and bags are almost too much to believe, especially in that setting.

I increased the drama by deepening the darkness of the trees and brightening the foreground. I also removed the blurred boy on the left hand side. Yes, I’m sorry little boy but your sisters stole the show!

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Children, City Park, Europe, Fountain

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Kaibab Horse Trail

The Kaibab Plateau borders the Grand Canyon in the South, Arizona USA. This trail, shown in 1962, was either the North or South Kaibab trail into the Canyon. Touring this vast area on horseback is still a popular pastime but it does come with warnings as, once out of the trees (the Kaibab National Forest), the exposed, rocky and very hot conditions of the Canyon are challenging for riders and horses alike. Canyon officials prefer to use mules. Certain images really make me want to go there, and this is one of them.

A dramatic improvement from the original as the blue tone was removed, and light and color was brought into the image.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on January 8, 2013 in America, Children, Country scene, Horses, Nature

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A Pocket Full of Presents

A holiday camp in the 1950’s. The children seem to be playing a game – Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosies perhaps? – except this time its a pocket full of presents. Or rather a big fat sack! The children are quite formally dressed for the setting, as was the custom of the day. Father Xmas, too, is in his full outfit, with beard, boots and everything in between. No barefoot, shirtless wannabe in a cheap hat at this camp!

I thought I’d pick something for Xmas so went into my catalog and found this one. It was fuzzy, blue and faded but, as I love the energy in it, I decided to give it a go. I turned out rather well after about 30 minutes of fiddling.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Children, Christmas, Games

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Danbury Fair Fun

The Great Danbury State Fair in Connecticut was a huge event, fondly remembered by the many who attended every year. It began in 1822 and the last one was in 1981. After that everything was sold off and it was replaced in 1986 with a yucky shopping mall called the Danbury Fair Mall. This photograph was taken in 1958.

This was a fair amount of work. I needed to rebuild the sky and this involved a lot of tricky selections. It was worth it knowing that scene depicted has ceased to exist except in amateur photographs.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on November 17, 2012 in America, Children, Fairs&amusement parks

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School’s Out

This is blurred, but who cares, when we still can appreciate these girls on their way home from a school in Europe somewhere, especially in those gorgeous clothes! Take a moment to look at how they have each styled their outfits. I just love it.

This came up so well with a bit of color work.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Children, Europe, Village life

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Child at a Washbasin

A rare and very beautiful image. Not many parents *lovingly* photograph a child doing a domestic chore like this. The ordinariness of the scene is rich with detail too, like the old-style tiles, rounded over the edges, the boy’s hand knitted jersey, and the big china basin. People have been known to fall in love with complete strangers in old photographs, so don’t feel weird if this is one you come back to, I’ll be right there with you.

The original colors are ruined but it still did better restored as a color image, subtly warmed up with a filter.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

 

Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Children, Domestic scene

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Playing at Highway Robbers

The second image of a childhood game, lovingly captured by the parents. I’m guessing a little but I think they’re playing at Highway Robbers as opposed to say, pirates. Is it always the younger brother that gets tied up?

It was a challenge to get the coloring just right as everything was a variation of brown. In the end making the brown richer was the answer, and I only brought back cooler tones where there were true grays.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Africa, Children, Games

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