Snapshots in time: Spain from 1955

The big find at found-film this week is a collection of 35mm colour slides in three small cardboard boxes which contain pictures of Spain from 1955.

I found them on eBay and, using my normal technique of bidding at the last moment, I managed to buy all three boxes for £10-50. Although there weren’t many clear pictures of the contents of the slides in the eBay ad, I could see that the majority of them were Ferraniacolor and mounted in the traditional yellow cardboard mounts that were used in the mid 1950s.

The seller reported that the slides were dirty, that there may be fungus growing on the inside of the slide holder and that it might be necessary to destroy the slide mounts to get the film out to be cleaned. I happen to know that the cardboard Ferraniacolor slides actually come apart quite easily by peeling the front cardboard flap up and releasing the glass with the film sandwiched between so I wasn’t too worried about that. As it turned out, once the package turned up with the slides inside, it was OK and I could easily remove the film for cleaning and resealing the mount was also relatively easy with a dab of paper glue.

The seller was correct however that some of the slides have fungal growth, and that is difficult if not impossible to remove. However, not all the slides are affected and even with the fungus, they still look a lot better once the glass is cleaned and all the grime and dirt from 60 years removed.

Each of the boxes contain about 40 slides and they are labelled with a description of the location or scene, the date, which is Sept 1955 for all the slides, and stuck in the corner of the slide is a small label with a sequence number. One thing apparent is that there is at least one box missing from the collection because I have slides starting at 44 all the way up to 150 but not the first box with 1 to 43 in. It’s a real shame the set has been broken up but I guess these things happen over 60 odd years.

Pictures of Spain from 1955

So what of the pictures on the slides?

Well there are a lot of landscapes and pictures of historic buildings along with a few pictures of traditional holiday venues such as the beach at San Sebasitan. The contents of the slides would suggest the photographer was probably more interested in the historical and cultural aspect of their visit than the ‘lay on the beach and soak up the sun’ angle.

There is one particularly interesting slide, one of the very few showing a beach scene, featuring the photographer herself sitting on a towel on a rocky beach. It is always interesting to see the person who took the photographs, although normally it’s a guessing game trying to work out which person depicted in the photos is the photographer. Since the only other picture with a named person in shows the photographer’s mother, it’s possible this was a holiday which was taken by just the photographer and her mother.

After I’d sorted through the slides and cleaned them up I discovered that although the boxes are all marked ‘Spain 1955’, some of the pictures are actually taken in France rather than Spain. I guess the label ‘Spain 1955’ refers to a trip to Spain rather than pictures taken exclusively in Spain, and possibly the trip was by Car or Coach and involved motoring through France to get to Spain.

I’ve included some of the images below just to give a flavour of the images in the boxes but I’ll scan the rest over the course of the next few weeks and I’ll add them to a series called ‘Pictures of Spain from 1955’ on the found-film site.

Snapshots in time
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A software developer by profession, I've always been interested in photography and vintage photography in particular. This site is one of several I run which is dedicated to film, photography and photo equipment.

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