Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall in 1960


Today’s slides are not magic lantern slides but they are, in my view, worthy of a post. Most of us remember, fondly or not, ‘transparencies’ from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Long before digital photos and camera phones were thought of, we had cameras with film in them ….. yes, really ….. which we sent away in the post to be processed into prints or, for a little extra cost, slides. The result was countless millions of 35mm projection slides of families on holiday, 99% of which were caption-less, staggeringly uninteresting and slightly blurred. Most of them are still out there in wardrobes and sheds, gathering dust and hardly ever looked at because it means setting up the Kodak carousal projector and a screen (and who can be faffed with that) to look at photos of people and places that look vaguely familiar but you can’t quite figure out who and where they are or why you took so many of them!


However, these slides of Newlyn in Cornwall aren’t bog-standard 35mm transparencies. They are a larger format film favoured by more discerning photographers. This isn’t my field (actually, anything later than 1920 is too modern for me) but I like these because, unlike most late twentieth century slides, they are made of glass, they’re sharp, haven’t faded and the unknown photographer took the time and trouble to write the location and precise date, July 1960, on them. Good man! (almost certainly a man, women had better things to do, like spending quality time with the kids). They will be collectable about fifty years from now.


The thing that really mystifies me is how can 1960 be 56 years ago, when it seems like yesterday. In fact, I can remember it better than yesterday. Where did my life go?

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