Monday, 24 October 2016

Snapshots from the 60s

I want that dress. MUM Y U NO KEEP THE DRESS?
My mum turns 70 next month, so my brother, his girlfriend, Mr Robot and I are throwing her a party. This is the first time we've had the money to throw her a proper party, and I'm not sure if she's ever had one organised for her before by anyone else. Even her wedding to my dad was a fairly small-scale event. Because of that I want to make it really special, and so I asked her for some old photos, though I didn't say why. I can't say why here yet, in case she's reading this.

(Mum, if you're reading, stop snouting.)

The photos have arrived and they're a bit battered. I get into work early every day, as we try to drive to Bath to beat the traffic, and that means before work starts I've got time to scan the photos and tidy them up in Photoshop, removing battered corners and the worst of the age-related speckling. I can't make them perfect, my skills aren't that advanced, but I can repair the worst of the damage. There's something satisfying about taking out the rips and creases so the actual picture, not the damage, shows through. People can be really sniffy about Photoshop, and it gets used as a by-word for over-the-top image manipulation, but like any tool you can use it as delicately or as crudely as you please. It's great for adjusting lighting, or correcting colours if a picture was taken somewhere with very blue or yellow light, or achieving really creative results. For mum's photos, though, I'm simply using it for correction.
Obviously I've grown up with mum, she's always been older than me. And here in these pictures she's far younger than me. I don't think it ever struck me before just how pretty she was. Her hair was red, the strong Scottish shade that's not strawberry blonde or auburn, but unapologetically RED. (Actually, it's still light red now – red fades, it doesn't go grey.) I find myself looking at her clothes, wondering what colours they were. Where did she buy them? Conversations to have after the party, I guess. I really love the collar on her dress in the photo with her friend Doreen. I'd wear that now! The shoes are ace too; she's wearing them in another photo with Doreen.
 I'm really enjoying working on these, and I think Mum's enjoyed digging them out too.

24 comments :

  1. You've done a wonderful job with those photos, Mim. Your mum is beautiful - what a shame they weren't colour photos then we could have seen her lovely red hair!

    Good luck with it all.

    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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    1. I do have one in colour, but it's her and Doreen (I think) in swimsuits with a motorbike. I don't think she'd appreciate me putting that one online.

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  2. Wow, your mum is a looker!
    That's so nice you're throwing her a party-it sounds like you have some fun and interesting things planned.

    Photoshop can be really helpful when you enlarge things enough to see titles on a magazine, etc. You did a very nice job on these photos (without having seen the before).

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    1. If someone's never had a party, the one they get when they turn 70 needs to be the BEST.

      I've still got bits of the photos to tidy up, but I'm really pleased with what I've managed so far. Just removing the rips makes a massive difference.

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  3. You're mom is so pretty! She's rocking the 60's bubble 'do and pencil silhouette to.
    My grandfather was an unapologetic redheaded Scot. My sister's grandson is the only redhead in our family now- never know where that redhead gene will show up!

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    1. My cousin Graham's got the red, I don't think anyone else has.

      My dad has black hair - his is the side of the family with a chunk of Asian ancestry, and he and all his siblings had dark hair - though my great-great-grandfather McDonald from Cork was also apparently a redhead. I ended up with paper bag brown! Bah.

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  4. Oh Mim, I wish I could come to your mum's party! I'm 70, and lived in England from 1957 to 1960--we'd have so much fun remembering that time. If it fits in at all, please tell her that Kate in Oregon wishes her many happy returns of the day.

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    1. I will! The last time she and my mother-in-law met up, they spent hours discussing the 1960s, and both seemed to have a brilliant time. She'll natter on about the 60s to anyone.

      I've asked the DJ to play lots of 60s tunes. She'll love that.

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  5. Lovely photos, I think what comes across most is the smiling eyes - you have the same!! I hope it's a super party x

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    1. Yeah, I sometimes get annoyed at how much I look like my mum - I want my OWN face! - but then I remind myself that at least it's a friendly face. Better that than one that ages all hard and grumpy-looking.

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  6. I love, love , love the photos of your mum! There's nothing wrong with using Photoshop to restore photos. I had one where part of the top layer had come off, and I was able to mend it that way. My mum, unfortunately, didn't keep any of her clothes from the 1960s. I've got a lovely photo of her at my sister's christening, where she is wearing the loveliest blue suit. All gone! I know that she had most of her clothes made, or even made them herself. I don't think she wore shop bought until much later ... I'm sure the party will be lovely, it's such a nice idea xxx

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    1. Not telling her exactly what I wanted to do was a good plan - that way, if I can't manage to do something, she won't miss it.

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  7. Your Mum looks like a young Prunella Scales, she's gorgeous.
    Did she make her own dresses? I'm pretty sure I've got a 1960s pattern in my stash with the same style collars.
    You've done a bostin' job of smartening up those photos. xxx

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    1. I don't *think* she made her own clothes. She did a dressmaking course a few years ago, so I'm guessing she didn't do much beyond the basics at school - though she might have had a friend who was nifty with the needle.

      Hmm. As she can sew now, I wonder if I can talk her into making me some tops. There's this weird gap on Etsy; no-one seems to be making 60s styles, even though they are (apparently) really simple. Virtually all the handmade stuff stops at the 50s.

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  8. To Mim's mom (if she's reading this):

    Dear Lady, you looked GORGEOUS!
    Seriously, such natural vibe, and the calming beauty, it's not something we come across often these days. Women now seem to prefer to spend a great amount of money on makeup and cover too much of themselves. What happened to "less is more"?
    Looking at you, dear Lady, you are the great example of how little goes a long way.
    Oh, and dear Lady, please tell Mim "hi" from me. :)

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  9. I can't wait to see what you have planned :) Have a blast at the party. Like you say once you get to a certain age your party has to be the best, my friend Kay's Mum just celebrated her 80th in a local pub with a buffet and a punk band!

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    1. I've booked a buffet and a 60s disco. I hope she enjoys it all.

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  10. Such gorgeous photos! And yes, what a stunning lady. My mum was a child in the 60s so I'm a bit put out I can't look at some equally cool photos. The 70s/80s don't really do it for me in the same way... And Photoshop is a miracle and should be treated as such by all as far as I'm concerned ;)

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    1. Heh, give it another 20 years and those photos will look cool to you.

      I honestly don't know why people have such a downer on post-processing. Images have ALWAYS been manipulated - if you ever look at the negatives of old Hollywood studio photos, you can see where they've been worked over. Okay, some people take things too far (*mutters* shitty overcooked HDR landscapes *mutter*), but a bit of white balance correction or contrast control doesn't hurt any image.

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  11. Such wonderful photos of such a great time in fashion history. Your mum looks just lovely. Does she have a Scottish accent? Mine still does despite leaving over 50 years ago. So sweet that you're throwing her a party. It's bound to be wonderful because all her favourite people will be there. Xxx

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    1. She's not actually Scottish, though she does have some Scots ancestry - I assume that's where the rusty hair comes from. She's got a Norfolk accent. (I've lived on the Wiltshire/Somerset border for so long, I now speak in a bizarre hybrid yokel fashion. Definitely rural, but hard to place!)

      I let her draw up her own guest list; she knows so many people it was easier that way!

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  12. Your mum was gorgeous and I love her glasses! Such a shame about the dress not being around. I have some bits of my mothers, but they're seventies bits and bobs.

    I hope the party goes as planned and that she has fun xxx

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    1. We moved around so much when I was a kid - dad in the RAF - that only the most important things got kept. I do have a couple of her evening scarves and bags from the 1970s, though. (I'd forgotten about those! Perhaps I should wear one to the party.)

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  13. Lovely photos, your mum had some great outfits! Happy birthday to her.

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