07 April 2011

The past is a foreign country


sandringham 1981
Originally uploaded by travelling-light
Of late cousin Davo has been posting some great family snapshots from his younger days in Hamilton, and this has reminded me of the huge changes that have occurred since then, both within the family and in New Zealand in general. I'm on the other side of the world from the various old photos that comprise my early history, and perhaps that's for the best given my typically poor performance when thrust reluctantly in front of a camera. But it did inspire me to get hunting for some old New Zealand photos online, and that's where this chap comes in.

Travelling Light has posted over 8000 photos on Flickr, and while I've only scratched the surface, I've been really impressed with both the quality of the images and the chance to look back at life in New Zealand before it caught up with the modern world in the 1980s and afterwards. TL's photos show a New Zealand of gently decaying weatherboard villas; decrepit English cars, some 30 or 40 years old and still barely moving; and corner dairies sinking into their foundations while they purvey one cent lollies and Lemon and Paeroa.

There's also time for reportage photography: check out the superb photos from the 1981 Springbok tour, and you'll be catapulted back into those testing days of confrontation and intolerance. And artistic work like this painterly shot of some Dunedin rugby goalposts. There's also time for what seems like TL's abiding passion, which is motorbikes - plenty of beautiful motorbikes.

I've only looked at a few hundred, so I guess there's about eight thousand more to go!
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