Saturday, 24 May 2008

Everything is so easy today - Photography

Great Gran and grandad Baldock

This photo was probably taken at a photographer's shop around the end of the 19th century and shows my great grandmother and great grandfather. He got married when he was 20 years old and soon the first of 16 children arrived, one surviving daughter my grandmother she had 11 surviving brothers. I can imagine them both very excited and dressing in their Sunday best for this photo. I treasure this photo very much as it is one of the few, if not the only, photo I have of them. So at this time, you did not take your camera with you, indeed you probably did not have one, and only special occasions were photographed. A wedding photo was something few and far between.

As the years went on photography became more popular and the camera became something that most people had, even if it only took black and white photos, such as this one.

Me and mum

Nothing special really, although I touched it up a bit. It must be almost 61 years old and shows me with my mum when I was a baby. If you went on holiday in those days you took the camera with you and made photos. When you got home you took the photos to the chemists and he got them developed for you and after a week's waiting you got your ready photos. Even then, however, if you wanted a special photo you went to the photographers and this was the result

Me around 5 years old

You can even see the photographers name and address on this one. I still remember that day. With my mum and dad I was taken to the photographers for a photo. I don't know why, but I think it was something to do for a nice photo for gran and grandad, although we had a few copies and had one framed on top of the piano. I had never had a doll's house and that was the only thing that interested me. The photographer put my hands on the roof. Note the bow in my hair, my mum seemed to have a thing with bows and I think every photo of me until I was about 8 years old showed a bow in my hair.

So photographs were taken over the years, the film was developed and eventually the colourful days came. I remember coloured film being very expensive at the beginning, but it soon got cheaper. However, photos were still only taken at special occasions, weddings, family get togethers and holidays.

Ollie, Patrick and me

This one shows me and my boys on holiday about 30 years ago. So already we have made progress with the photos. We bought albums and put them in. As the boys got older we went on holidays to other countries and there was no problem. You took the camera and took photos. We had started off on the photos with a visit to the photographers and already we had our own cameras. At first you had a film to roll into the camera, afterwards something called the instamatic was invented. You just put a ready made cartridge in to the camera, and then suddenly that went out of fashion and we were all equipped with 35 mm films.

Then the computer was invented and along came the digital camera which most of us use today. Our children take it for granted today that photos are taken and afterwards loaded onto the computer. You can then improve them in light, colour, contrast and whatever. Some of us have quite elaborate and expensive programmes for this, but there are also quite reasonable programmes, some free, for fixing the photos. Why I am writing this blog is that it came to mind today after a discussion in a photography group, how much that we really take for granted, including myself.

When I see the few photos I have from the past, I would have loved to have had one where my grandmother was cooking, or washing. Where she was perhaps getting on a bus or train. A photo of my grandfather at work, or even my dad. You only took photos on special occasions. Probably one of the reasons why I always have my camera ready for a photo. I love taking photos of everyday life, of machines, of shops and now and again perhaps a tourist theme of a mountain or a sunset. But today I have the choice. I am almost ashamed to say I have almost four thousand photos on my Flickr photo stream and almost as many on the computer. I even have the choice to make them private that not everyone sees them. I can show them to people in other countries via computer. We are very lucky, but I feel even luckier to know how it was to get excited about getting the photos back from the chemists shop after waiting a week for them to get developed. And here a digital photo to just round up this little blog.

Approaching bridge over River Aare, motorway Biel-Solothurn

Nothing special, but I am sure my great grandfather and his wife would never have envisaged that one day their great grandaughter would sit in a car and take a photo of the motorway (showing the new bridge in the town of Grenchen - Swiss motorway Solothur-Biel).

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