A peek down memory lane
… old photos of Reading University…
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog called ‘A walk in the dark’. The cover image for the blog was a scan of a photograph that I’d taken while I was studying at Reading University, back in the mid-1990’s, on my old Kodak Ektra slimline camera. No built-in flash, no manual focus and certainly no telephoto function, this was ‘point and press’ photography at its most basic. And yet ever since I stumbled upon that image, sitting in a forgotten envelope at the bottom of a box file in my study, I can’t help but feel that it is truly beautiful.
Maybe I’m being nostalgic, but I love the graininess of the image, which makes it look more like a painting than a photograph. These days, we live in a ‘High-Def’ world and are bombarded by crystal clear images everywhere we look. Seeing this makes me realise not only how far we have come, but what we may have lost in the process. It is often said about movies that what you don’t see is better than what you do see and I think that the same is true here. We’re now so conditioned to look for the detail in images we see that sometimes we forget to look at the picture as a whole. Certainly, you can’t see individual blades of grass in any of these photos, the 110 films just didn’t have the resolution, but nonetheless, you certainly get the impression of grass, that is for sure.
Then, there’s the colour rendition. Maybe the images have matured and softened with age, but I absolutely adore the contrast between the moody, grey Reading sky and the orange AMS tower peeking up cheekily from behind the chocolate brown brick of the Palmer building in the foreground. Similarly, the lone student who happened to be walking along the path when I took the photo (and I have no idea who it is, before you ask), contrasts beautifully with the rest of the image, his blue T-shirt subconsciously drawing the eye off the mid-line of the photo, then up the vertical, concrete pillar of the Palmer building and ultimately into the cloudy, summer sky above.
Now, I know as well as you do that it’s only an old photo, a single moment in time, as indeed all photographs are. But I hope that you will agree with me, that for whatever reason, it is a beautiful image in its own right, which deserves to see the light of day again, after having been hidden away in darkness for so many years.
Below is a selection of other images of Reading University, circa 1995, taken using the same Kodak Ektra 110 camera. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.
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