A couple of weeks ago I received an email out of the blue from a guy who had a huge donation of Kodachrome colour slides to make to the Found Film project.
It turns out he was clearing the house of his Aunt, who had sadly died, and needed to dispose of her collection of slides which she had taken over the course of her life. As he explained to me, she was both an avid photographer, and a keen traveller who had documented all her visits to many countries of the world with her photographs. Because he didn’t want the archive to be sent to landfill, he contacted me to ask if I would be interested in receiving the slides as a donation.
Obviously, I jumped at the chance of receiving a set of work from a single source as a donation and quickly responded that I would be pleased to take it and host some of the pictures on the site. I assumed that, as his Aunt was a keen photographer she may have taken a few films every time she went on holiday – perhaps 3 films per trip and 3 trips per year for 30 years that would be about 300 films. It turned out I under-estimated that by quite a lot!
A few weeks past as Roger (the contact’s name) sorted through the material and got it boxed up to send to me. When complete, the whole archive filled 7 large boxes (and I mean large – each one about 2 – 3 ft square) which weight up to 35 Kg each. The postage using standard delivery services was considerably more than I had envisaged, but with a bit of searching I found a site called Shiply which allowed me to have the slides picked up from his address and get them shipped to me.
When the boxes arrived I got an idea of just how many films Roger’s Aunt had taken. I’ve not had time to sort through any of the archive in any detail, but my initial assessment is that each box seems to contain about 150 to 200 films (that’s up to 7000 slides per box – perhaps nearly 50,000 photos in all).
I may be wrong because some of the packages I haven’t opened yet may contain slide carriers rather than boxes, but however it works out this is a major archive of photographs.
As an example, one shoe box labelled, ‘Canada’ contains about 20 rolls of film all taken on a single trip to Canada in Oct 1979 – that’s about 750 individual slides. Another bag with the label, ‘China’ looks like it has about 500 slides taken in that country.
The range of countries and regions covered is breathtaking — I’ve seen Canada, China, Persia, Spain, France, Pompeii, Singapore & Malaysia just in the first box, so there seems to be a set of photographs from most areas of the globe. It also seems, from the few slides I’ve actually examined, that Roger’s Aunt was an adept photographer because every image I’ve looked at has been well exposed and composed.
Over the course of the next few months I’ll be scanning sets of photographs from the archive and publishing them on the site. I haven’t yet assessed the best way to cover all the material, but I can certainly see I’ll make a lot of posts in my ‘Snapshots In Time‘ series.
Also, at some point in the future, Roger is going to provide some information on his Aunt, and he or I will write a post about her to give some background to the huge volume of work which has ended up on Found Film