Following on my SOAP series – (Story of a Photograph)
Number 11: Hues of Nostalgia
Most people will tend to refer to themselves as being of a certain decade; ie: a Sixties or Nineties guy/girl for instance, and I guess that when most people say this they are referring to a specific time in their lives, that being when they were between the ages of ten and twenty, most probably their mid to late teen years. Although, in reality there is another period which is probably even more important when it comes to the time when impressionable things are imprinted into our minds, things that will stay with us throughout our lives; that being the time when we are between the ages of zero and ten. The difference being that, in adolescence we generally choose the things that we take forward with us: taste in music, clothes, lifestyle etc; in the early years we just absorb, absorb everything around us as if we are the sponge and nothing isn’t worth our inquisitive inspection and mental acquisition.
Personally, I am an Eighties’ guy, although my own zero to ten period was in the Seventies, and I sometimes wonder if that period of my life still influences my photography today. The Seventies was a time of chocolate-browns, of pastel oranges, pale blues and other colours of a pastel hue; this was the colour palette of the decade; or maybe it was the colour palette of the Sixties, and what I was seeing was simply the result of people not redecorating as much as they do now; things moved more slowly back then, it was a different world. Either way, when I was young people had orange curtains and chocolate-brown sofas, sometimes vice-versa, pale blue cutlery and clothing to match, and these hues or similar still have a draw on me now it seems to me; these colours, hues and shades draw my eye even though forty plus years have elapsed.
There doesn’t even need to be a lot of this colour to spark off 70’s nostalgia, just a splash or hint will do. The muddy-orange rectangular hue in the above photo of a steel farmers gate had me thinking of fabric seat covers from North-Wales-caravan-holidays when I was about eight years of age; the dark-green foliage also had me thinking, maybe that was the carpet? People in the Seventies sure liked to colour clash. Colours, sounds and even smells can steer us in ways we probably don’t realise photographically; just one click of the shutter and I was transported to a caravan-park somewhere east of the small port of Conwy, the noises of sheep and cattle waft through an open window, nearby there is the smell of sausages on an open grill and in the corner of the room a small plastic radio is playing the latest record by E.L.O or The Boomtown Rats.
I looked down at my legs half-expecting to see myself wearing a pair of beige-corduroy flares, but then on seeing slim-fit grey jeans I knew I was back in the modern world of 2018…