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Category Archives: Europe

London Visit

I’ve previously written about the collection of abandoned Argentinean snapshots I received from a friend. They belonged to a guy who left them in South Africa many years ago. His snaps show good times for a group of guys in Argentina, their home country. So it was interesting to find some shots included in the box of their travels in Europe. Interesting because of the way they remade themselves for their travels, wearing dapper clothing in a style they may have felt was appropriate for Europe. We’re talking brogues for London, boots for Venice, and a well-groomed style not seen in their home pics. I love this transformation and the soft, self-conscious style of the photos. They do look the part of the debonair tourist, don’t they?

In London …

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655---Old-Plaza-after  656---London-guy-after

… and in Venice.

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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in City view, Europe, Man, People, Sightseeing

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Instant Relatives

The term ‘instant relative’ has emerged in popular culture. It refers to those photos of people found at flea markets. You can purchase them, take them home and presto! you have instant ancestors on your wall. I’ve seen them in holiday houses and restaurants, cloak rooms and hallways. In one holiday house I stayed in they hung above the bath. On the one hand it’s a shallow decor trend but on the other hand people really do start feeling a connection with the people in found photos. There’s definitely something deeper going on.

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These instant relatives – photographed in the UK in about 1965 – all come from a single collection. One inherits the loving, friendly or intimate gaze without any effort, and perhaps that is their attraction.

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Snapshots such as these had great significance for their owners in colonial South Africa, depicting as they do one’s connection to a tribe in a country of origin, far away.

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With the remove of time and no real familial connection, the anthropologist’s eye comes in. I love the details of domesticity, the houses and clothing tell a thousand stories about middle class English society.

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Here’s Bob Richter explaining what instant ancestors are and how you can welcome them into your home.

 

Posted by on December 12, 2015 in Domestic scene, Europe, People, Suburban home

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Beach on the coast of Spain

I tackled this slide because of its physical qualities but fell in love with the scene along the way. The slide is in shocking condition, faded to pink and flimsily framed, but interesting because it is a large size – 4mm square. I know this beach is in Spain because of others – labelled – from the same original collection. I like the natural location of the beach, the absence of houses and the feeling of it being a secret cove, given by the rough cliffs. Down at the sea shore I love the boats and the small wooden pier.

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The original unfocused image and the condition of the slide invited a romantic painterly treatment,
achieved with Topaz Labs new Impressions filter.

Before and after

371---Beach-cropped

 

 

Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Beach scene, Europe, Summer, Swimming

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Bearded Man in Ruins

Did the ancients have any idea of the great expanses of time that their works would stand? This formally attired 1970’s man muses on the passage of time as he is held within stone walls that have stood for eons. Forty-something years later those walls are likely to be unchanged (unless they happen to be in a war zone), the man gone, and today’s travelers now muse via Instagram and Facebook. Social media was of course unknown to this seventies guy, just as it was unknown to the ancients who built the walls.

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Before and after

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Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Europe, Museum, Ruins

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Carnaby Street Coolness

Lord John was a Mod Look clothing store and then clothing chain success story in 1960’s swinging London. The owner drove around the city in his Rolls Royce and cultivated a gangster image. He was once interviewed wearing a see-through body shirt over a golden-tanned spare-tyre and said in a thick London accent “Let’s make this fast, young man – I’ve got a very busy day”. In 1967 he commissioned a huge hippy mural on one of his two Carnaby Street stores. It was very daring at the time.

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Before and after

This was a cheap souvineer slide so had completely lost color. I went for a black and white tint with light edges.

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Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Art objects, City street, Europe

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John O’Groats Post Office

Looks cute and cottagey doesn’t it? Conjures up cobbled village streets, quaint pubs, nodding roses, fragrant heaths and such doesn’t it?! Well, I’ve just read up about the town of John O’Groats (pop. 300) on the extreme north east tip of Scotland and cute it is not. Lonely planet called it a “seedy tourist trap” and Urban Realm magazine gave it a Carbunkle Award for ‘Scotland’s Most Dismal Town’. This is why I prefer armchair travel.

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It is interesting to reflect on how individual travelers perpetuate cultural stereotypes by framing pics that fit a mold. Hopefully the ‘major redevelopment work’ happening in John O’Groats now will rescue it.

Before and after

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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Close-ups, Europe, Rural life

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Romantic silhouette

Couple at Rhodes Museum, Greece, 1964.

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Before and after

A case of recoloring, balancing light and shadow, and shadow detail recovery.

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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Europe, Museum, People, Sightseeing

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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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Five retro cities in sepia

Wild monkeys and air balloons migrating across smokey, sepia colored cities … For a recent art project, I searched through my collection and found these 5 stunning examples of city views. London, New York, Florence, Stockholm and Paris were all shot by amateur travelers in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. The images were used for “Migration Series” – part of our recent exhibition with added illustrations by Pete Woo.

Final art works

Migration-series - New York 1958New York

Migration-series - London 1959London

Migration series - Florence 1958Florence

Migration-series - Stockholm 1964Stockholm

Migration-series - Paris 1964Paris

Limited edition prints were done on watercolor, textured paper using archival inks. An alternative print was also done on metal. The series is currently still available. Get in touch with Studio Woo if you’re interested in purchasing.

Read more about the exhibition ‘Black Sheep Clever Monkey

Before and afters of the cities:

Mid-&-lower-Manhattan-NYC-From-RC-Aug-1958-cropped

Stockholm-from-Town-Hall-Tower-July-1964-cropped

Florence-under-the-clouds-cropped

London-looking-west-from-St-Pauls-July-1959-cropped

Paris-from-the-Eiffel-Tower-looking-South-July-1964-cropped

 

 

Posted by on February 17, 2014 in America, City view, Europe

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Air France Postcard

Not an old slide this time, but a postcard from Air France. I love it and have pinned the original above my desk. Air France issued many such postcards, all gorgeous designs. However, out of the hundreds on Pintrest, EBay and Google I can’t find this one, so perhaps its quite rare! On the reverse is a reference number 60 279/11/78.

Air-France-Postcard

 

Posted by on November 17, 2013 in Airport, Country scene, Europe, Modes of transport

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Flower Market

This indoor flower market is was probably in London, UK and I wouldn’t be surprised if it still exists. I love the somber suits and bent heads as they make their trades. Flowers come into our homes to create cheer and yet here its all serious business. The final consumer who is largely female is of course nowhere in sight.

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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Europe, Flowers, Market

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Belgian State Visit

One of the most rewarding aspects of collecting is doing research on the images. I really enjoy probing the Internet to see what I can find out from the threads of information contained in the image. As a result, my general knowledge of things odd and unusual from all over the world is growing!
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The coat of arms turned out to be British but these are not members of the British royal family. It was a Facebook friend who took a wild guess that this is ‘Fabiola of Belgium’. She turned out to be right. I looked up inbound state visits to the UK dating back to the 1950’s and learned that King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium visited the UK from 14 – 17 May 1963. It was their last official visit to Britain. The slide was taken shortly after their arrival by royal train at Victoria station where they were met by Queen Elizabeth and then rode in a carriage procession to Buckingham palace.
 

English Countryside in Spring

Beautiful scene of an English countryside in spring. It looks cold and many of the branches are still bare, but blossoms have begun to show. A red coat sets of the greens and looks really cozy for a brisk walk.

Note to self: Solitary lady in garden setting = sort of cultural icon. This is one of many. Must investigate.

Lady-in-a-red-coat-in-a-garden-after

The sky was white and I needed to bring back the blue with some clouds behind the branches. After this I deepened the color and sharpened the image overall.

Before and after:

Lady-in-a-red-coat-in-a-garden-cropped

Click for big

 

 

Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Country scene, Europe, Nature, Rural life, Woman

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Mountain Top Village

I have no clues as to where and when this awesome scene was captured. Its from a collection of slides circa 1970s, but feels timeless. The landscape and village are dramatically connected to each other – of course the location must have been chosen for a strategic reason but one can’t help admiring the large, creative vision that gave rise to this choice. I do hope this village is still there today.

Mountain-top-village-after

This was a real challenge to restore and took 2 attempts to get the right color and depth. The photographer was probably using a zoom lens and this resulted in a flattened perspective. It was also grainy, overexposed and faded. The sky was completely whited-out and had to be recreated.

Before and after

Mountain-top-village-cropped-as-Smart-Object-1

Click for big

 

Cool down walkway

Some time ago I came across another slide of this beautiful walkway, both pics having been taken from the same spot, which I think is somewhere in Rome. I loved the setting but the first slide was a ruin: dark, blueish and moldy. So imagine my joy when this far better specimen turned up. That’s the great thing about travel photography; the chances are good that with enough material, many shots of the same places will appear. This one was lighter and more colorful, giving me plenty to work with.

Florence-walkway-with-fountains-after

The strong contrast between the light and dark sides of the pathway needed evening out, a new sky was added and the fountains were highlighted. I also applied an artistic filter to accentuate edges.

Florence-walkway-with-fountains-cropped

Before and after. Click for big.

Florence-walkway-with-fountains-original

For comparison, here is the original too-dark one. Its kinda cool that the woman is walking along the fountain edge, where its wet, and not on the path.