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Author Topic: Old Timers question  (Read 2313 times)

Offline spinner

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Old Timers question
« on: March 22, 2014, 12:04:33 AM »
My older brother died last week. But that's not what my post is about. His wife asked me to look through my family photos to find some of him. In doing so, I've come across a series of b/w shots that are between 4"x4" and maybe 3"x3". They appear to be what you might call street life shots. It's my parents or my dad and his friends apparently just strolling about town.

They'd be circa early 50's. I'm curious, were there street photographers who made a living this way? What type of camera would produce such small shots? Would they just stop you and ask for your details? There was no instant developers back then.
Oh, yeah, these shots would have been taken around Glasgow or Clydebank.


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Offline Reinardina

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2014, 07:54:51 AM »
My older brother died last week. But that's not what my post is about. His wife asked me to look through my family photos to find some of him. In doing so, I've come across a series of b/w shots that are between 4"x4" and maybe 3"x3". They appear to be what you might call street life shots. It's my parents or my dad and his friends apparently just strolling about town.

They'd be circa early 50's. I'm curious, were there street photographers who made a living this way? What type of camera would produce such small shots? Would they just stop you and ask for your details? There was no instant developers back then.
Oh, yeah, these shots would have been taken around Glasgow or Clydebank.

I cannot help you with the technical questions about camera's etc, but there were certainly street photographers in the fifties. And earlier.
I was lucky enough to pick up a 'Picture Post Album, the 50th anniversary collection,' and it has plenty of fifties street shots.

If the photographers made a living out of it, or if it was 'just' something they did as well as their 'normal' photography work, I cannot tell.
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Offline ABERS

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2014, 08:54:47 AM »
I would think that perhaps the 50's were the heyday of street photography in the U.K. Reinardina points out Picture Post as the wonderful example of Photojournalism from that era, with one of my idols Bert Hardy a regular contributor. I met him after he retired and I didn't get the impression that he'd ammassed a huge fortune from photography his love of it shone through.

http://www.gettyimagesgallery.com/exhibitions/archive/picture-post.aspx

The Americans really made it an art form, but there are books/collections of many British photographers that undertook street work, and a few books of 'street' grace my shelves which I often go back to when the old grey matter doesn't seem to be working on a photographic level.

Recollections by Phillips Jones Griffiths
England Observed by John Gay
An English Eye by James Ravillious
Unknown Bown by Jane Bown
Byker by S-L Konttinon

Don McCullin started out on the streets of East London.

I would imagine Spinner you have a good treasure of Glasgow in the 50's. Can you scan a few in to let us see them.

The print size sound like they are contacts from 120 film, perhaps a Box brownie?
 

Offline Andrew

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 10:44:59 AM »
Ultimately - much of the images of the past, since the dawn of photography, could be classified as 'street photography'.

Only the technology and cultural views on privacy have changed.
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Offline StephenBatey

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2014, 05:27:34 PM »
Apologies if I'm taking this the wrong way, but I took the question to be "were there photographers about who snapped people in the street and sold them the results". On that basis, the answer is yes, there were - even up to the 1960s to my personal knowledge.

As to there not being instant developers (as in "1 hour dev and print") there were Polaroid instant films and cameras to use them from the late 1940s onwards. So, whether you had to call back for the results (the photographer having taken a deposit first so you either called back or lost the money) or got the result there and then, it was technically possible. Back in the 1960s I came across the first business model, which was obviously cheaper to run than the second.

The early Polaroid prints were quarter plate (3.25x4.25) which was a popular amateur size back then. I have hundreds of quarter plate prints (admittedly enlargements from 35mm).

Offline Oldboy

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 06:04:03 PM »
In holiday places like Western-super-Mare, photographers would take your picture for a small sum of money, posting the photos to you at a later date.  In those days a man's word was his bond. :tup:
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 06:05:51 PM by Oldboy »

Offline ABERS

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 06:42:46 PM »
The last time I had such a 'street' picture taken was in 1984 in Portugal. I sat watching this chap with a large plate camera and an assortment of cans of liquid hanging from the tripod outside the church in Viana Do Castello taking instant pictures of people going to some religious affair. I say instant they had to wait some 15-20 minutes while he dibbled and dabbled what looked like a paper negative of sorts under a large cloth and eventually came up with a picture.

He came over to where I was and made some gestures that asked if I wanted my picture taken. Since I couldn.t speak Portugese and he had no English we came to an arrangement that I would buy a picture if I could take one of him with his camera. We all went away happy.

I've got his picture scanned in somewhere. Must see if I can find it.

Found it!!

« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 07:03:48 PM by ABERS »

Offline spinner

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 10:12:42 AM »


I would imagine Spinner you have a good treasure of Glasgow in the 50's. Can you scan a few in to let us see them.

The print size sound like they are contacts from 120 film, perhaps a Box brownie?

I may have jumped the gun on that one Alan, talking to an older cousin, he tells me they were likely taken in Ayr or Isle of Man. Adding to my learning curve.
I wasn't aware, but apparently Clydebank would copse down for two weeks in the summer and everyone would holiday in one of the two places.

I have scanned them all, unfortunately, I'm bad in Fla. and the scans are on my computer at home in Canada. :-[ If I remember when I get back I will post
some.
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Ol' blue eyes

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Offline spinner

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 10:22:41 AM »
Apologies if I'm taking this the wrong way, but I took the question to be "were there photographers about who snapped people in the street and sold them the results". On that basis, the answer is yes, there were - even up to the 1960s to my personal knowledge.

As to there not being instant developers (as in "1 hour dev and print") there were Polaroid instant films and cameras to use them from the late 1940s onwards. So, whether you had to call back for the results (the photographer having taken a deposit first so you either called back or lost the money) or got the result there and then, it was technically possible. Back in the 1960s I came across the first business model, which was obviously cheaper to run than the second.

The early Polaroid prints were quarter plate (3.25x4.25) which was a popular amateur size back then. I have hundreds of quarter plate prints (admittedly enlargements from 35mm).

Stephen that was sort of what I was asking. I wasn't aware Poloroid was in business back then. Thought they were a late 60's phenomenon.
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Ol' blue eyes

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Offline spinner

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2014, 10:24:44 AM »
In holiday places like Western-super-Mare, photographers would take your picture for a small sum of money, posting the photos to you at a later date.  In those days a man's word was his bond. :tup:

Based on what my cousin told me, sounds like this fits the bill exactly.
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Ol' blue eyes

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Offline spinner

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2014, 10:35:49 AM »
My older brother died last week. But that's not what my post is about. His wife asked me to look through my family photos to find some of him. In doing so, I've come across a series of b/w shots that are between 4"x4" and maybe 3"x3". They appear to be what you might call street life shots. It's my parents or my dad and his friends apparently just strolling about town.

They'd be circa early 50's. I'm curious, were there street photographers who made a living this way? What type of camera would produce such small shots? Would they just stop you and ask for your details? There was no instant developers back then.
Oh, yeah, these shots would have been taken around Glasgow or Clydebank.

I cannot help you with the technical questions about camera's etc, but there were certainly street photographers in the fifties. And earlier.
I was lucky enough to pick up a 'Picture Post Album, the 50th anniversary collection,' and it has plenty of fifties street shots.

If the photographers made a living out of it, or if it was 'just' something they did as well as their 'normal' photography work, I cannot tell.

I will have a look for it in one of the larger book stores in Toronto when I get back. There's a dirth of bookstores of any kind where I am currently.
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Ol' blue eyes

http://ddsdigita4.wix.com/ddsdigital
https://www.flickr.com/photos/spin498/

Offline spinner

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2014, 10:56:27 AM »

http://www.gettyimagesgallery.com/exhibitions/archive/picture-post.aspx


Interesting link, like old b&w photos. I was especially taken by the shots of Gina Lollobrigida. :legit:
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Ol' blue eyes

http://ddsdigita4.wix.com/ddsdigital
https://www.flickr.com/photos/spin498/

Offline Reinardina

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 12:15:39 PM »

http://www.gettyimagesgallery.com/exhibitions/archive/picture-post.aspx


Interesting link, like old b&w photos. I was especially taken by the shots of Gina Lollobrigida. :legit:

Many men were taken by her looks!
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Offline WillyP

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Re: Old Timers question
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 03:54:47 PM »
Not having seen the photos, I'm wondering why you would assume they were taken by a 'street photographer', as opposed to someone in the group who just happened to have a camera and took some snaps?

 

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