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Found Photos - Japan, 1958 Sun 19 Feb 12

23 glimpses into another place and time

Other than a belated "I'm taking a break" post it's been 13 months since I've posted to this blog. With all of the changes in the world of IT and 13 months to ponder them you'd think my first post back would be a wondrous thought-provoking manifesto on the state of IT. Yeah, you might think that but in this case you'd be wrong, way wrong.

I'm an amateur photographer.  I'v always enjoyed taking pictures and editing them.    Working with photos relaxes me and takes my mind off my worries for a treasured little time.  As far as amateur photography goes I'm an okay photographer, not a great one or even a good one.  Some day with enough time and practice I hope to be good.

Found Photos Japan Aug 1958 (9)In the mean time like so many others I share my photos on Flickr for what they are.  I've just posted some found photos that I really enjoyed.  I didn't take them, I found them, but I still enjoy them nonetheless. 

 I've got thousands of color and black and white negatives and color slides from the pre-digital camera days.  Many are the typical family snapshots and many are pictures from many of the exciting places I've been fortunate to be able to visit around the world.

For Christmas I received a Plustek OpticFilm 7600i SE negative and slide scanner that allows me to convert the negatives and slides directly to digital photos.  I've started using the scanner and have lots more to scan.  Since a lot of the slides are just laying in the bottom of a large cardboard box I thought I'd get a storage case for them.  So I went to eBay and invested $5 (plus $10 shipping) for a nice metal case to hold up to 300 slides.

The listing for the case mentioned that it included some old slides but I was completely surprised when I received it.  In the case were 25 slides.  A quick look told me they were quite old.  The old car was a give-a-way.  Fortunately, one of the slides was marked with a processing date: "AUG 58". 

Wow! These slides were almost 54 years old!

On top of that many were obviously taken in Japan based on the scenes plus some were marked as processed by Shrirolab Tokyo (curiously printed in English).  However many others even with Japanese scenes are marked as processed by Kodak and "Made in USa".  Other slides include family photos of some U. S. Navy officers.  We see one standing proudly as a presumably newly mint Ensign with his sword, with his mother and later as a Lieutenant (jg) in another.  There are also other photos of another young Ensign and his family.

The family photos may have been taken in the US since having your parents visit you at your duty station in Japan in 1958 would have been rather unusual at the time.  International travel as a commonplace occurrence hadn't begun.

The Japanese scenes are quite interesting as they show us a time and place many of us have never experienced.  It is also interesting to see that the officer got out to the country side with his family.  In one scene we see a young American child in the back seat of the car surrounded by Japanese children.  Other scenes also show that 1958 Japan was a long way from the technologically advance Japan of today.

Some of the slides are in remarkable condition for being 54 years old; the colors are quite strong and sharp.  Other slides have begun to deteriorate and are discolored adding to the old time allure.

When I look at the photos I cannot help but wonder about the stories behind them.  Who are these people and what has happened to them in the last 54 years?

Twenty-five slides isn't a lot.  Why were these slides out of all the others that there had to have been discarded.  Were they duplicates, considered uninteresting or too deteriorated to keep and therefore discarded?  We can only speculate and will probably never know.  Maybe we learn more about ourselves and others from our scraps than from our treasures.  In any event, this was an interesting peek in to someones life in another time and in another place.

A few of my favorites are posted below.  All 23 (2 were too badly deteriorated) are posted on my Flickr page as Found Photos.  If anyone has advice on how to clean them up further or by some random chance can identify the scenes or people or add to the story I'd love to hear from you.

Found Photos Japan Aug 1958 (9)

Two girls in traditional dress


Found Photos Japan Aug 1958 (4)

A hand-written note on this slide states "Much merchandise is transported this way"


Found Photos Japan Aug 1958 (6)

I love the expression on the mother's face.  Is the young woman the Ensign's sister? a girlfriend? a wife?


Found Photos Japan Aug 1958 (22)

A village scene.  I wonder if the motorcycle in the foreground is the photographers?


Found Photos Japan Aug 1958 (20)

A family outing to a local village.

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