20 Feb 2012


Whilst undertaking my great slide clean out ( see Leica 3A post below) I came across a set of interesting slides taken by me in Londonderry in Northern Ireland in April 1968 which I had completey forgotten about.Londonderry is usually referred to as Derry and the pictures are interesting on a number of levels  Firstly they show an extraordinarily bleak place -- which it most definitely was. Unemployment was very high and it was probably the poorest place in the United Kingdom at the time--it may well still be .Note the lack of cars in the photos and the dress of the people , the huddles of idle men and the old men with their sticks.What must it have been like for the children in the photos growing up in a place like this -particularly with what lay ahead-see below?

Secondly some of the photos ,particularly the first two have an almost painting like quality due to a combination of the subjects, the diffused light and the low saturation of the film used .For me they resemble the paintings of the British painter,L S Lowry .I have attached an image of a typical Lowry painting below .I have not done any post processing to these images except to remove some fungus in the sky on one which had grown on the slide as it was mounted between glass.

Thirdly April 1968 was only six months before the events of "bloody sunday:" in Derry which threw N Ireland into a savage, 30 year civil war.Against this knowledge it does look particularly bleak and perhaps foreboding.

Finally I wonder at my nerve as a 22 year old student standing on these streets with my "fancy" Leica and taking photos .And shooting was not an instant action as I had to take a lightmeter reading first. I must have looked very out of place but I cannot remember being conscious of it at the time .

 The photos were taken with my Leica 3A on Kodak Ektachrome film which was ISO 64. I used the Elmar 50mm F2.8 lens -- it was the only lens I had .
I am fortunate that fungus has only attacked one of the slides . Glass mounting of slides -where the film is sandwiched between two very thin sheets of glass -seemed like a good idea at the time as it was supposed to stop film damage but it provides an ideal environment for fungus growth particularly here on the eastern coast of Australia.

Fever by LS Lowry

1 comment:

  1. Not much to smile about if you lived there then, I wonder if it has changed much. Great photos.