Some years ago I first received an email claiming that these stunning photographs were only found in a Brownie Box Camera recently. The photos are real but the astonishing claims made were a figment of somebody’s imagination.
Most of one’s “small talk” revolves around financial considerations, not of a global or national kind, but rather those of the most mundane issues such as the cost of bread or the price of petrol. As most of these photographs relate to America, the dollar amounts have been converted into Rands.
Main picture: If they think I’ll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it.
In any selection of old photographs, there will be some that I have seen many times. In this collection, all were unique.
Main picture: World economic crisis, 1929
History is comprised of a myriad of moments lost in the mists of time. These photographs bring back to life a mere handful of those moments in time. Each, in its own way, casts a sharp light on the life and times of a bygone era.
Become entranced in how the world behaved, loved and lived in the past.
Main picture: Carrying a Rolls Royce across a river in Nepal in 1950
Helen Keller and Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin was a famous silent film movie actor and Helen Keller was an author, political activist and lecturer who was deaf and blind. She still learned to communicate. Bizarrely there is a photograph of Charlie Chaplin and Helen Keller meeting each other in 1912 Hollywood. They are standing face to face and Helen appears to be touching Charlie’s face to read his expression. It’s probably not seen often because it looks like a photograph a friend may have taken as a keepsake of the meeting.
It is not that I am au fait with Cape Town but apart from Port Elizabeth, I possess a natural affinity for Cape Town. Besides spending three months in Cape Town performing a due diligence and many an Easter participating in the Two Oceans, I have never actually spent much time there.
Nonetheless photographs of the old Cape Town always appeal to me. Here are my latest batch.
Main picture: The majestic Table Mountain
This stunning array of colourised photographs showcases a bygone era. Amongst them is a photograph of Union soldiers in 1863 during the American Civil War. Another one shows Madison Square in 1900. Most like a pilot receiving a haircut beside his plane during the Battle of Britain represent prosaic yet enlightening scenes.
With my penchant for history and especially photographs of history, these photographs gripped my imagination. The technique used was rudimentary as it involved manually adding colour to black and white negatives. Foremost amongst the question that I would like to ask, is how long it took to colourise one B&W photo.
Main picture: Bridge and Promenade, Bedford
The Campanile was erected to commemorate the landing of the 1820 Settlers and is situated at the entrance to the railway station and docks in Strand Street, the spot where it is said the settlers landed in Port Elizabeth. The architects were Jones & McWilliams with construction starting in 1920 and it was completed in 1922.
These 40 photographs span the period from the advent of photography to the 1970s. They provide a glimpse into another world. For me, the most revealing photographs are those of the nineteenth century and the early 1900s. Being almost alien in the 21st century, I find them both enchanting and repulsing in equal measure.
Main picture: a wood-plank prison in Wyoming, 1893