Archive for Harare

I’m going to take you back in time to the late 70s when I was growing up in Africa. This is long before the days of digital cameras, camera phones etc. Films for cameras took 24 or 36 exposures either in black and white or colour.These are what my dad took and he processed the film himself to produce either photos or slides.

One of my Dad's old Kodak slides

My dad had travelled a reasonable amount after World War II and had taken photos from various places in Africa. Occasionally, he would set up the old slide projector and as a family we would sit down and look back at the photos he’d taken. Some were from places he’d travelled to before I was born. These were faraway places that sounded fascinating. Timbuktu was a place my dad mentioned a lot. We also looked back at our holiday photos. In the days before computers and the internet, looking back at pictures wasn’t as easy as it is nowadays.

Its probably more than 30 years since we last had a slide show and my dad’s slides have been stuck in the bottom of a cupboard for years. At Christmas, my mum asked if we should throw them out but I thought why not scan the old slides and look back at the photos we used to enjoy so much when I was a child. We tried to estimate the number of slides in Dad’s collection and our best guess was over 2,000 – thats a lot of scanning. It would have cost several hundred pounds to pay a company to scan the slides. However, I was in an electronics shop and found a little USB slide scanner for 20 pounds so I bought it and started scanning at home.

My USB Slide Scanner

Having owned an SLR for a few years, I’m used to looking at crystal clear, hi-res images and but cameras from a few decades ago were obviously not up to today’s quality. Add to that, the fact the some of the film has degraded slightly, the images weren’t always clear and needed a bit of cleaning up using Photoshop.

The National Museum in Salisbury (now Harare) circa 1975

Its been a slow job but I’ve found it incredibly rewarding to see some of the old family pictures again. I’ve also found it fascinating to look back at old photos in general but when there is a family connection, its even more interesting. I’ll upload some of the better images to my Flickr account for anyone who may be interested – http://www.flickr.com/bbmexplorer

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