Posts Tagged ‘Waterford Photographs’

I love the colours in these early 70s holiday snapshots which I purchased from an online seller recently. There is something very evocative about this Kodak colour process with its strong red and brown hues. 

The photographs were taken by Irish-American tourists in 1971 and include the slightly surreal image of an A and B pay phone. This pay phone system required the caller to contact an operator and if for some reason the call didn’t go through they could hit the ‘B’ button to return their coins. I wonder if the photograph was taken in an airport and that the green phone is perhaps a courtesy phone? I cannot make out the headlines on the newspaper which might have provided clues as to the time of year. 

I’ve identified the clock tower in the background of this photograph as that on Waterford Quay which was built in 1881. The man is the foreground appears to be enjoying his holiday. 

Upon their return to the United States, the travellers chose to photograph the items they had purchased during their trip to England and Ireland. It provides a great insight into the types of souvenirs which were popular with tourists during the period. I recognise several brands including an Irish Wade pin dish and a leprechaun figure which looks very like those made by Crolly in Donegal. They also bought plenty of linen teacloths and some strange looking records.

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Up until the 1950s young girls in Ireland wore white when making their confirmation. These ethereal images remind me of August Sander’s confirmation portrait and the overall atmosphere is reminiscent of two of my favourite films: Picnic at hanging rock and White Ribbon. Confirmations remain one of the few occasions which are still marked by a formal studio portrait. Note the contrast in the footwear worn by the two sets of sisters – dusty black brogues on the first and pristine white canvass shoes on the second. One of the photographs bears the embossed logo of the photographer J. Hughes. I have located other photographs taken by the Hughes studio in Waterford County Museum’s photographic archive which have identical backdrops and props. 

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