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Exactly sixty years ago today my father took this photograph of my mother and me. I know this, because the print is inscribed on the back in my mother's handwriting
"January 1950
12 days old"
- I was born on the 14th, today is the 26th.
My brother Jon sent me the print a day before my birthday this month; he had rescued it from one of our sister's periodic spring-cleans. It's on semi-matte paper; image size exactly 8x6 inches / 20.3x15.2 cm though with a small rebate on the longer side. The original wasn't printed quite squarely on the paper; I have no way of knowing what camera it was taken on. I remember him using only 5"x4" Speed Graphics before taking delivery of a Rolleiflex in about 1960, though during WW2 I think he toted a Contax amongst other cameras; I am aware that several other sizes of Speed Graphic existed. My mother sometimes mentioned a Palmos, which I remember only vaguely.

In all likelihood the film was Ilford HP3.

It looks like a rushed effort: dad probably returned from a job with a dark slide only half used and got mum to hold the baby so that he could use the other half and reload with fresh film for his next assignment, then producing a quick print in a spare moment for the scrap-book that never got made. The sepia in the original is the effect of the years, not of extra toning.

I have no memory of the house - it was somewhere in Southampton - but the chairs and cupboard seem familiar. I can not help noticing his collection of fishing rods and his favourite Hardy reels in the background, while salmon flies hang from the pictures on the wall. A small piece of family history that lay forgotten until a fortnight ago.

I simply scanned the print (V2), straightened it in software and set about removing the accumulated scratches and dustmarks electronically. Perhaps I may claim one small record, though: I expect this is the first time a photograph has appeared in ephotozine sixty years to the day after it was taken!

Camera:Speed Graphic
Username:woolybill1 woolybill1
Uploaded:26 Jan 2010 - 9:26 AM
Tags:Black & white, Portraits / people
Variant - Before/AfterVariant - Before and After


Cor  6 Belgium
26 Jan 2010 - 9:29 AM

Sweet dreams are made of this...........

26 Jan 2010 - 9:35 AM

Supurb, love the 'old feel' to it in V2


This is fabulous and a lovely story Bill.
Heart warming.

26 Jan 2010 - 9:57 AM

Remarkable condition given its age.


You've done quite a bit of work on this, Bill. Lovely to see - and your mum looks very proud.


brilliant work...such memories Smile


I think you are probably right to collect that record


Superb image Bill - V1 for me


mikbee  8 Scotland8 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 10:20 AM

60 years ago Bill.I was not born. (just !!) My father was a keen photographer,with his own darkroom.I remember as a young kid in the 50s ''playing'' in it.I always loved the smell that was always there.He eventually banned me when I opened a box of paper to do some drawing's on.I could not understand the fuss he made as I only used three pieces !! After all,he had plenty left !! I knew not to touch the chemicals as he told me my fingers would ''fall off''.Perhaps they would,with the chemicals in these days.He never did warn me about the box of paper,surprisingly enough.I have mentioned before that is is a great family ''mystery'' to what happened to his pics and negs,after his death.They just ''disappeared''.How I would love to get my hands on them now !!

Pete Site Moderator 1418749 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 10:24 AM

There was something very special about the tone and depth of those old photographs. It's something that doesn't seem to be recreated with modern equipment.

BilT  7 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 - 10:28 AM

As Pete statedm this is very special indeed, thank for sharing



These old pics are so interesting and thank goodness it was inscribed on the back. I think V1 is very good but V2 has a nice warm feel to it.

26 Jan 2010 - 10:45 AM

A very special record of days long gone by, beautifully restored.


26 Jan 2010 - 11:07 AM

A wonderful piece of history Bill, and a great piece of restoration also. What a bonny baby you were, and what a splendid photographer your father was - I can now see who you take after! Thank you for sharing this special memory with us today.

digipix76  8577 forum posts England
26 Jan 2010 - 11:11 AM

Bl##dy love this.



It is really lovely, I like my textures and would probably have left the scratches on.


A cracking image and a great story to go with it Bill.

26 Jan 2010 - 12:01 PM

Nothing about the camera here....its all about the time, the place, the people, the taker and the occasion.....this is superb, wonderful and you must be so proud, happy and delighted to still have this wonderful image....


What a marvelous journey into the past. Thanks for sharing such a personal and priceless piece of your history. It is beautiful.

Diana  82011 forum posts Netherlands19 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 12:11 PM

thats just beautiful Bill...how wonderful uploading this precious piece of treasure !

old photos have such a magnetic charm

I do prefer the 'as is' one,

(but not to detract from this beautiful memory)


Last Modified By Diana at 26 Jan 2010 - 12:12 PM

You may have started a trend with this Bill ~ will we see more forties and fifties babies? Excellent photograph!


26 Jan 2010 - 12:34 PM

fabulous, thanks for sharing this Bill


colmar  842 forum posts Scotland35 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 12:48 PM

Superb tale and images you did a lot of work on this one thanks for sharing both the memories and the image Colin


As Pete says the tones and depths in these old images are wonderful.
A great images that say a lot about that time, great to have the record of this time.
Regards Richard

26 Jan 2010 - 1:20 PM

that is intensely moving Bill, congratulations by the way!

bliba  9 Austria2 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 1:32 PM

wonderful Bill

thanks 4 sharing


An absolute treasure--

Happy Birthday--

a well rescued image!


You have made a great job with this Bill, what a lovely image to get given it must mean so much to you. - gary

Cormy  7 England
26 Jan 2010 - 1:54 PM

Would never have recognised you without your cap Bill.Great nostalgia here.

BarryC123  743 forum posts Ireland25 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 2:06 PM

A fine picture in itself, nicely capturing a moment in time, but, combined with the history you've added, this is a really special work indeed, in every way. Thank you.

glyndwr  866 forum posts Wales9 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 2:38 PM

What a great birthday gift.
Is it really you Bill?, where is the hat?


PS; you share a birthday with my son.


Excellent restoration job and great story.

26 Jan 2010 - 3:15 PM

I've always liked the old sepia type tone, Bill, a lovely image to still have, evoking memories, its why we take photos,

riprap007  111568 forum posts England37 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 3:30 PM

one of those which could date anywhere between a 20 year period, however, judging from the date the world was on the cusp of momentous changes, similar to now. Great to see real furniture (rather than flat pack cardboard). A very fine job in recreating that just printed look too Smile

A Booth
A Booth  13 United Kingdom4 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 3:48 PM

excellent record shot of a beautiful baby and mother.

26 Jan 2010 - 4:48 PM

What a find, a wonderful keep-sake for you Bill - I like what you have done in V1 and am impressed with your skills - the original is fab' as is though Smile

Sarah *

jonwebber  7 United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 5:52 PM

Great restoration job.

martinjp  6 Wales3 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 6:40 PM

nicely mastered Bill, my eldest was born on the 14th too albeit 1987...



Lovely idea to share this with us Bill, smashing, thank you.

John Smile

Roly  8 Wales
26 Jan 2010 - 8:43 PM

This is great Bill.Glad that your brother managed to rescue it.I love these old family photos.I found a lot of my late mother and her family from the 1930s onward.Didn't even know they existed until 2 years ago.Thanks for sharing this one.


Belated birthday wishes to you & great your brother was able to save this image for you


Lovely capture of a very proud Mum with her new baby. Her slippers bring back memories too!! Haven't seen any like them for many years now.

Last Modified By helenlinda at 26 Jan 2010 - 9:37 PM
tony64  11204 forum posts England9 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 9:42 PM

A fantastic find Bill! You have done a great job on the conservation.
A picture with not just family history but a social history too. You must have been so pleased!
Belated birthday wishes too!

MickS  10 England14 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2010 - 11:11 PM

Watcha Bil,
I didn't they had self timers in those days, how did you manage to get it set and back up on yer ma's kneeSmile
Bit old masterish, a bit more, soft, light on the faces and it would be very Georges de la Tour.


Well now we know where you got the bug from Lad it's in your genes. The old plate cameras produced such huge depth of tones and captured wonderful ight and shade way back then.
We rescued many many images at The Herald and there are some in the Mitchell Library which are Door size and still fabulous. There was a Minimum Palmos I seem to recall.
Belated Birthday Greetings my young friend.


27 Jan 2010 - 8:13 AM

Great work on this image, you made a good digital copy to keep it from getting lost,


Weren't you just cute and you haven't changed a bit, super photograph and love your Mum's slippers. Is that a Nikon I see under the shawl ?

Nicky Wink

27 Jan 2010 - 11:32 AM

Simply excellent


27 Jan 2010 - 8:09 PM

A sentimental image Bill - lovely to read your commentary.
When I first saw it in the thumb, I thought to myself what a lovely bit of composition work went into it. It really is beautifully captured and the light excellent. Your father had a good eye.
Also, it reminded me of one of Harriet Backer's paintings, although the lady in that was sewing by window light.
Enjoyed this bunches.

27 Jan 2010 - 10:17 PM

Absolutely brillaint, bringing back the past

Brilane  9 Wales12 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jan 2010 - 4:14 AM

A lovely memory for the album.


Love the window light on your mother's face, a priceless image Bill.

tigertimb  740 forum posts United Kingdom66 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jan 2010 - 11:55 AM

A beautiful shot and excellent work with the scan and tidy-up Bill, although I do like the warmer tones on the original
(the old wooden chessboard catches my eye too)

28 Jan 2010 - 12:39 PM

That's a heck of a restoration job you did there, Bill. It deserves awards for that alone.

Your dad must have been some photographer. Its a lovely, sensitive portrait, a a very special family moment.

kinfatric  11550 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jan 2010 - 8:16 PM

a great narrative and look into your history Bill


A wonderful image Bill, definitely one to treasure. You've done some excellent restoration work here, thanks for sharing this one with us

MilanaG  9 Bulgaria
29 Jan 2010 - 5:08 PM

Fantastic image...thanks for sharing...

MickS  10 England14 Constructive Critique Points
29 Jan 2010 - 11:12 PM

Quote: There was something very special about the tone and depth of those old photographs. It's something that doesn't seem to be recreated with modern equipment.

are you saying that digital is shallow, at lastSmile


this leaves me speechless
so precious

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