When I was sorting through a collection of old photographs the other day I came across an Ilford sleeve and I was very happy when I opened it to find a bunch of negatives:
The sleeve advertises Ilford Selochrome Film - For Faces and Places. I thought I'd already sorted out all the old prints and negs that my mother had kept over the years but this one must have slipped through the net. Nice big 6x9 negs too - just the sort of thing which required some immediate darkroom attention. I don't know what camera they were taken on, must have been a folder of some sort but mum can't remember. Not important really, but the negs were lovely and contrasty so it must have been something pretty good.
I printed a few of them yesterday, on Adox MCP paper. This is a really nice paper but I do wish Adox hadn't skimped quite so much and supplied a slightly larger dark sleeve for the paper - it is just about possible to fold it over before putting the lid back on the box, but not as easy as, say, Ilford or Kentmere. Anyway, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
Most of the negs were from a trip my mum made to the Isle of Man, in 1950 - her first holiday as an adult.
This first one was so easy to print - around grade 2 I think, which shows you how good the negative was. Lovely tones.
My mum went with a girl friend but they soon met up with some others, from Dublin she recalled. Most of them were pretty decent, she told me, apart from one lad who was a real pest. I think that must be him on the right, with his arm around my mum. The cheek of it! The flower my mum is wearing is an Edelweiss, she was able to tell me - a present from a girl friend in Switzerland that for some strange reason had been to school in Coleraine. Why she was schooled in Coleraine I know not, but they remained friends all their lives and visited each other on several occasions over the years.
There were a couple of family shots too - this one of my mum with her brother and their mum and dad. It looks like the same dress as in the first print above, so this might have been the day she left for the Isle of Man. The dress was hand-made by my mum and her mother, as most of her outfits were.
It felt really good being able to bring these old negs to life again. The quality of those negs is just amazing - it's made me want to shoot more medium format.