Sunday, October 4, 2020: What’s Inside the Box

For the last few days, I’ve been looking at 8mm family home movies from the 1940’s and ’50’s. I haven’t seen most of them in fifty years or more so you can imagine what a trip it’s been: aging grandparents not yet frail, my parents in their prime, uncles and aunts I never knew were so good looking, my sister, cousins, and me at the very start of our lives — not that I can relate at all to the little boy seen below as he attempts a somersault.

And what about those three-inch square, yellow Kodak boxes that required all of nine cents return postage!

I regret that as a family, we watched these films shortly after they were taken, and rarely, if ever, again. I would have liked to see them years later while everyone was still alive, and to hear the older generation talk about themselves when I was too young to care. I wish that my sister and I could have seen the love that existed between us as children, before we became estranged later in life and she passed away. I’m not sure it would have made any difference in our relationship but it never occurred to me to suggest it.

In managing to capture a few frames with my iPhone for this post, I was surprised to discover several stills that actually had some artistic merit—due in no small measure to their lesser photographic quality. Even the dust and hairs in the projector lens make a valuable contribution :)

My guess is that there’s a wealth of fabulous photos hidden in countless 8mm movies being played back at 16 frames/second. A project for the next pandemic lockdown.

(Click on images to enlarge.)