By woolybill1
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!

Tags: Black and white Portraits and people

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Cor 9 Belgium
26 Jan 2010 9:29AM
Sweet dreams are made of this...........

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Supurb, love the 'old feel' to it in V2
Buffalo_Tom 11 2.3k 9 Wales
26 Jan 2010 9:36AM
This is fabulous and a lovely story Bill.
Heart warming.
collywobles 14 4.0k 10 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 9:57AM
Remarkable condition given its age.
SandraKay Plus
11 233 4 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 10:04AM
You've done quite a bit of work on this, Bill. Lovely to see - and your mum looks very proud.
cats_123 Plus
14 4.8k 28 Northern Ireland
26 Jan 2010 10:05AM
brilliant work...such memories Smile
barbarahirst 9 27 12 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 10:09AM
I think you are probably right to collect that record
26 Jan 2010 10:18AM
Superb image Bill - V1 for me

mikbee 11 3 8 Scotland
26 Jan 2010 10:20AM
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 Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
26 Jan 2010 10:24AM
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 10 1 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 10:28AM
As Pete statedm this is very special indeed, thank for sharing

9 10 10 England
26 Jan 2010 10:30AM
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.
morpheus1955 11 3 2 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 10:45AM
A very special record of days long gone by, beautifully restored.

gingerdelight 11 298 11 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 11:07AM
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 11 577 England
26 Jan 2010 11:11AM
Bl##dy love this.

Scaramanga Plus
10 56 6 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 11:42AM
It is really lovely, I like my textures and would probably have left the scratches on.
danbrann Plus
13 637 17
26 Jan 2010 11:50AM
A cracking image and a great story to go with it Bill.
johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 12:01PM
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....
Joline Plus
12 30 53 United States
26 Jan 2010 12:11PM
What a marvelous journey into the past. Thanks for sharing such a personal and priceless piece of your history. It is beautiful.
Diana 11 2.0k 19 Netherlands
26 Jan 2010 12:11PM
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)

fentiger Plus
17 918 24 England
26 Jan 2010 12:14PM
You may have started a trend with this Bill ~ will we see more forties and fifties babies? Excellent photograph!

User_Removed 11 485 13 England
26 Jan 2010 12:34PM
fabulous, thanks for sharing this Bill

colmar 10 42 35 Scotland
26 Jan 2010 12:48PM
Superb tale and images you did a lot of work on this one thanks for sharing both the memories and the image Colin
Richsr 11 91 223 England
26 Jan 2010 1:00PM
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
User_Removed 12 7 8 Netherlands
26 Jan 2010 1:20PM
that is intensely moving Bill, congratulations by the way!
bliba Plus
12 2 Austria
26 Jan 2010 1:32PM
wonderful Bill

thanks 4 sharing
taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
26 Jan 2010 1:37PM
An absolute treasure--

Happy Birthday--

a well rescued image!
gary_d 10 576 13 Wales
26 Jan 2010 1:39PM
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 10 3 England
26 Jan 2010 1:54PM
Would never have recognised you without your cap Bill.Great nostalgia here.
BarryC123 9 43 25 Ireland
26 Jan 2010 2:06PM
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 11 66 10 Wales
26 Jan 2010 2:38PM
What a great birthday gift.
Is it really you Bill?, where is the hat?


PS; you share a birthday with my son.
TyChee 13 275 1 United States
26 Jan 2010 3:06PM
Excellent restoration job and great story.
26 Jan 2010 3:15PM
I've always liked the old sepia type tone, Bill, a lovely image to still have, evoking memories, its why we take photos,
riprap007 13 1.6k 37 England
26 Jan 2010 3:30PM
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 16 11 4 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 3:48PM
excellent record shot of a beautiful baby and mother.
Sezz 13 617 15 England
26 Jan 2010 4:48PM
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 9 4 1 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 5:52PM
Great restoration job.
26 Jan 2010 6:40PM
nicely mastered Bill, my eldest was born on the 14th too albeit 1987...

26 Jan 2010 7:19PM
Lovely idea to share this with us Bill, smashing, thank you.

John Smile
Roly 11 Wales
26 Jan 2010 8:43PM
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.
GlynnisFrith 11 23 3 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 9:20PM
Belated birthday wishes to you & great your brother was able to save this image for you
helenlinda Plus
11 360 22 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2010 9:35PM
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.
tony64 14 204 9 England
26 Jan 2010 9:42PM
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 13 23 14 England
26 Jan 2010 11:11PM
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.

brownsilent 11 7 2 United Kingdom
27 Jan 2010 8:13AM
Great work on this image, you made a good digital copy to keep it from getting lost,
nickyv32 Plus
10 135 England
27 Jan 2010 8:51AM
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
jaktis 14 84 Sweden
27 Jan 2010 11:32AM
Simply excellent

AnneWorner 10 620 43 United States
27 Jan 2010 8:09PM
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 10:17PM
Absolutely brillaint, bringing back the past
Brilane 11 5 12 Wales
28 Jan 2010 4:14AM
A lovely memory for the album.
lostintime 10 13 5 Germany
28 Jan 2010 8:37AM
Love the window light on your mother's face, a priceless image Bill.
tigertimb 10 40 66 United Kingdom
28 Jan 2010 11:55AM
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)
davey_griffo 9 213 165 England
28 Jan 2010 12:39PM
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 13 550 9 Scotland
28 Jan 2010 8:16PM
a great narrative and look into your history Bill
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
29 Jan 2010 4:57PM
A wonderful image Bill, definitely one to treasure. You've done some excellent restoration work here, thanks for sharing this one with us
MilanaG 12 Bulgaria
29 Jan 2010 5:08PM
Fantastic image...thanks for sharing...
MickS 13 23 14 England
29 Jan 2010 11:12PM

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
pascalg Plus
10 37 France
18 Feb 2010 9:19AM
this leaves me speechless
so precious

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