Sometimes mistakes make for the best photographs especially when the attempts to rectify them are as humorous as the one above. The tops of the heads of this seaside group were chopped off by the photographer only to be restored in this crude but highly effective manner. Someone has pencilled in the missing foreheads and hairstyles and the results are especially funny on the gentleman in the middle of the shot. The little girl with her bucket and spade is the only intact figure and appears to laugh mischievously at her older relations.
This snapshot reminds me of a scene from RC Sherriff’s The Fortnight in September (1931) one of my favourite recent reads from the excellent Persephone Books. The novel relates in beautiful detail the experiences of a family on a seaside holiday in Bognor Regis between the World Wars. It includes a magical scene where they collect their holiday snapshots from the local pharmacist. They were presented with six snapshots which must have been a standard number of exposures during this period. The Kodak album which houses the above photograph also held that number of prints and the following ad from the 1930s records the move to eight exposures! In the digital age, this appears like a ridiculously small number of photographs with which to record a holiday.
I bought this little album alongside five others in the same format for only $9.99 and can’t believe no-one else wanted them! All originated from the Belfast area and the Kodak verichrome film stickers which appear at the back of them are nice little pieces of 1930s ephemera. I also noticed that there is an interesting article by Lucy Curzon in the latest issue of ‘History of Photography’ on the Mass Observation’s documentary photographs of 1930s holiday makers in Blackpool which ties in nicely with this topic.