17 Feb 2012


I have just had a serious clear out of old slides .Not just a few hundred slides but thousands of slides as well as hundreds of negatives. I should have thrown them out years ago.In fact I should not have kept most of them in the first place but in the film days it was difficult to just throw out slides--they had cost so much it seemed like wasting money despite the fact that they were junk.Even today many photographers keep junk digital images although they have cost nothing.Anyway I have bitten on the bullet and they are in the garbage bin out on the street as I type this so there is no turning back .

Whilst doing the clear out I found a few gems including these shots taken when I went on an expedition to arctic Norway whilst at university in 1967.
They were taken on my Leica 3A .The colour shots were taken on Kodachrome 2 (ISO 25) supplied by an expedition sponsor ,Kodak .The black and whites were taken on Kodak Tri-X .

The photos may seem quaint and pedestrian by today's standards but photographic styles have evolved (and I have hopefully become a better photographer) in the intervening 45 years .Also the equipment was a constraint.You had to take a  hand held lightmeter reading and Kodachrome was very slow and had very little latitude so getting the exposure correct was absolutely critical.

My favourite is the fishing boats following us on the coastal steamer into harbour late in the afternoon travelling up the Norwegian coast .It is so still that the exhaust haze from the trawler is hanging in the air behind the boat . Back in 1967 oil had not yet been found in the North Sea and Norway was a very small country reliant on the fishing industry.Late one day we went line fishing inside the Arctic Circle with some locals and we just pulled hundreds of cod out of the sea -it was amazing .Now they are all but gone. Different times .

The second colour photo shows the pilot boat pulling away after it had transferred the pilot to our ship as we approached Bergen.The appeal of this photo for me is the beautiful, little wooden boat .Today I am sure it would be a modern steel boat painted a dayglo colour and with "PILOT" down the side and bristling with equipment.

The fact that these slides are so well preserved is because they were taken on beautiful,stable Kodachrome -see Kodachrome

The B&W shots were taken In the Beiardalen Valley in far north Norway . Until a road was cut through the mountains in 1967 this valley was only accessible from the sea and a population of a few hundred people  farmed the beautiful ,harsh terrain .It was ,and proably still is, like another world .One of the photos shows hay drying on racks .The farmers kept the animals in barns through the harsh and long winters and the summer's dried hay is the food supply for winter.I would love to see it today .

My Leica 3A

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