Thursday, 26 November 2015

Third Blackpool 1977 Photo Album 4 - The Illuminations

Once again I turn the pages of a photo album created in 1977. This time we will have a look at the Illuminations.

As much as possible I used to take photos on a wet night. The reflections on the pavement and roadway enhance the look of the Illuminations.

Of course, it did mean that we had to go out festooned with hats, heavy coats and some protection for the camera. I always have some sort of filter on the front of my camera lens anyway. During the day a polarising filter helps me get those blue skies. At night though I want something that doesn't cut down the amount of light going through the lens. So I used to use a UV filter.

I would put the camera into a polythene bag and cut a hole in it for the tip of the lens to come through. The polythene bag would be taped to the side of the filter to keep rainwater out of the bag and a rubber band kept the big hole tight around my wrist so that my hand could operate the camera with water getting to the camera.

One of the great things about living in Blackpool is that it does change fairly regularly. Imagine taking photos every year of Stonehenge. This year's photo would be almost exactly the same as 1977's photo. But the Illuminations change. Other attractions in Blackpool change more than you might find elsewhere too.

We often take photographs of scenery that won't change over decades or hundreds of years. The best memory-jerkers are those photos from your own past that show something you can no longer look at. I have lots of photos of cars that make me smile and remember. Also of family - perhaps the most important memories of all.

But if I were to have thought about things that change and cannot easily be found after the event I would have taken many more photos of shops - which change very regularly over the years. Also things like household items that you don't even think about with a camera to hand.

Mugs. How many of those have you broken in your life? Every now and then when looking at photos of family parties I spot a mug in someone's hand and think "Cor, I remember those..." Another thing I wish I'd taken photos of - or at least wish my parents had taken photos of - are my childhood toys. All you parents - your kids will thank you 30 years on for any photos of things like that I promise!

So these old photos of the Illuminations don't just remind me of old Illuminations, but the older buildings of the Golden Mile, cars of the 70s and fashions of the time worn by people who I hardly noticed at the time of taking the photos.

Or litter bins on the Promenade... Or (look carefully!) the days when cars had radio aerials sticking up from the front wing!

The view from Central Pier. (I was starting to feel guilty at not saying anything about the Illuminations!) The red neon of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium adds a spot of interest to the Golden Mile - another thing that cannot be seen any more.

Tramcar 680, originally the powered half of a twin-car set was often to be seen operating without a trailer. Both this and the previous photo have been affected by something that has disappeared with the advent of digital photography. A bit of light has got into the film either before or after it went through the camera and it has "fogged" the top of the photos. Seen as little bits of light, on a daytime photo you probably wouldn't even notice it. Against the dark night sky though it becomes very obvious.

The 1977 frontage of Louis (not Madame) Tussaud's waxworks was a bit less ostentatious as the 2015 version! In the next article we will still be at large during the night, but will leave the Promenade behind and go for a wander around the Pleasure Beach.

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