A couple of weeks ago I found an ad on eBay for an old 35mm slide box complete with about 100 colour slides and starting at only £0.99. It looked interesting because the slides were obviously quite old and solid looking with metal and glass holders. From the two or three individual slides which appeared in the eBay listing, I could see that the box contained slides by Ilford and Ferrania. Now I’m quite interested in Ferrania because they are in the process of restarting production of this film (well not the original company, but the emulsion will be the same), so I thought it would be interesting to have a closer look and put a bid on in the last couple of seconds and bought the complete box for about £5.
When it turned up I was pleased to see that the box was in almost perfect condition. Whoever owned (and presumably took) these colour slides obviously looked after them. The index sheet on the inside cover is unmarked, but there are notes on some of the slide mounts to indicate where they were taken.
The content seems to be split into two halves. In the first section of the box are all slides from 1950 and 60s – these are the ones taken on Ferrania and Ilford film. These are all glass mount slides and consequently the film itself is pretty well preserved and the outer glass can easily be cleaned to remove the dirt and muck which has built up over the years.
The second half seem to be more modern slides – mostly in plastic mounts and of different subject matters.
And what of the subject matter?
Well I suspect the owner of these pictures was perhaps a teacher or possibly a scout master who travelled abroad with groups of children. Many of the pictures are of an adult (which I’ve assumed is the person who owned these slides) with groups of children in locations in Germany and Austria.
Fortunately the locations are written on some of the slides because I probably wouldn’t have found them otherwise. For example, the picture on the right was taken at Linderhof palace and on the wikipedia page linked you can see the exact location as shown in the early to mid 1950s picture. If you want to see more of the pictures click on the one on the right and choose the ‘Series’ tab on the right of the screen.
I think the most interesting thing about buying a set of slides like this – in a single box which have obviously all been kept together and belonged to the same person – is that you start to feel as if you know something about person who owned them. The reality is of course that I know almost nothing at all, but every slide I scanned I felt as it I found a little more out – his name (Bellis), where he went and at least some of the things he liked to do.
Colour slide collection is a new passion for me – I’ve bought a few hundred as bundles and I’m enjoying sorting through them and finding some interesting pictures, but I’m going to also keep an eye out for more collections like this one because they provide an interesting personal touch.