Slides from a bygone era: From the Scottish Highlands to Alabama

By January 25, 2021 No Comments
Greenock photographer

Slides of a bygone era; from the Scottish highlands to Alabama. 

What does a photographer do during lockdown?

I usually use my blog to showcase recent weddings but I’ve been a little off the ball with that recently. I will get back to that as weddings start to pick up again, but for now I’m sharing more of a personal post.

For me being creative is a part of life and it’s definitely a challenge to stay creatively motivated when all you have are the same four walls to look at! That being said, not being able to get out and take photos has given me the time look through an old box of slides that belonged to my Grandad.

Greenock photographer

My Grandad lived in Greenock, Scotland. He lived there all his life apart from when he served in the Navy during the Second World War. 

To say he adored Scotland is an understatement. He was a proud Scotsman and as a popular member of the Inverclyde camera club, he dedicated much of his spare time traveling around the highlands in his camper van bagging munros and photographing the lochs and mountains. 

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One year when I went to visit as a child I asked him where his favourite place in Scotland was, later that day he’d prepared a three hour slide show of pictures he’d taken at a place called Torridon. 

Watching the slideshow that evening is memory I reflect on a lot, seeing someone have that much passion and enthusiasm for something was really influential to me at such a young age.

Little did I know then I’d follow in his footsteps and share a passion for photography. Thanks Grandad!

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Greenock filmphotographer

Greenock film photographer

What does this have to do with Alabama? 

I’d say there are easily thousands of slides of pictures he took of his beautiful country. Most of the images are boxed up in slideshow containers, perfectly labelled with locations and dates, but it was a Cuban cigar box at the top of the pile that first caught my eye, so I started with that one. 

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I opened it up and started to look at them through my slide viewer, only to find that these pictures weren’t of Scotland at all! They were a collection of images from what appeared to be America some years ago. 

As I moved from slide to slide I found one that had an image of a queue for a cinema. My recent addiction to detective shows on Netflix was finally proving useful! I put my investigative skills to work by looking at the movie posters on the board and I was able to figure out the decade was probably the 60’s, and a real estate billboard gave me a clue that the location might be Alabama. 

To our knowledge, my Grandad never visited Alabama and didn’t have any connections over in the states, so how these pictures ended up in his collection remains a mystery. 

The quality of the images isn’t brilliant as I only have a standard slide scanner to copy them from, but they do give us a glimpse into a person’s history. It just goes to show some images don’t need to be technically perfect to be interesting or document a point in time. 

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Who was the person behind the camera? What movie were those people queueing to watch? How on earth did these end up in my Grandads possession? I guess I’ll never know.