Photography: Rescued Memories Pt. 3

U.G. Krishnamurti tells me there’s no such thing as memories yet here we are with another batch of Rescued Memories. This was a project that we started 4 years ago, finding old film, scanning them and giving a voyeuristic look into the forsaken ghostly memories of a bygone era.

What’s the point? What’s the point in anything? The sentimentalist in me likes to believe the so-called spirit of the moment that someone somewhere once saw fit enough to want to cling to still continues on whether they have discarded them or not. The opportunist in me hopes maybe we’ll find the next Vivian Meier in these discarded negatives. Regardless, it is still interesting to peek into candid moments of what appears to be 1950’s American life. Below is a selection from a few rolls of Kodak Safety film we found, taken somewhere around New Jersey and Ohio.

Guns, boxing and cars, everything a little boy needs. A proud young couple loves their first child very much and spoils him accordingly. They seem to be a pretty normal middle class family.

I have no idea what camera these were taken with. Cameras were not quite the ubiquitous contraptions they are now but it became a norm with the boomer generation.

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States emerged as the world’s leading industrial power. Generous government support for education and home loans coupled with a booming economy meant that Americans in the postwar era had more discretionary income than ever before. And thus, the baby boom and the suburban boom went hand in hand.

A dude shows off his new ride. If social media was around back then you know this one’s going up to score some endorphins through external validation.

Getting kids to cooperate for family photos has always been chaotic and hilarious.

With the rise of the middle class in America in the 1950’s and 60’s the camera found itself to become an everyday household item. Showing off your prized possessions, be it family or material items, these types of photos can be thought of as the template for those “Kodak moments” that became rooted in our culture.

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said in 1945, “America at this moment, stands at the summit of the world.” It was easy to see what Churchill meant. The United States was the world’s strongest military power, its economy was booming, and the fruits of this prosperity – new cars, suburban houses and other consumer goods – were available to more people than ever before.

Yet the 1950s also brought us to the time when a growing amount of Americans spoke out against inequality and injustice. African Americans had been fighting against racial discrimination for centuries. During the 1950s however, the struggle against racism and segregation entered the mainstream of American life.

A lot has changed and a lot really hasn’t. It is fascinating to look at what people thought as “photo worthy” back then since photography was much more novel and special in those times. While the aesthetics of fashion and vehicles have changed, people have always loved shooting their loved ones, showing off their swag and getting smashed. Looking forward to scanning the next batch.

MN