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March 26th, 2019

Of memory lane & Insta friends

First of all, a bit of quick scene setting:we’re holidaying in Shanghai, where our son Hari lives.

Since I now have a connection with this fabulous city, I follow quite a few Shanghai Instagram feeds, and in the space of 2 days, I’ve met 3 of my Insta “friends”, so had some definite fan moments!

Take, for example, the amazingly knowledgeable duo of Tina and Patrick, who run the feed @historicshanghai, and who are helping me ID some of my old photos.

Quick explanation:

I’m on a mission to digitise the thousands and thousands of transparencies that I took during the 80s, 90s and early 00s, when I worked for many different stock libraries around the world.

Digitisation rapidly and brutally took its toll, not only on the number of stock libraries in existence, but also on the medium itself. In a short space of time, the transparency was dead in the water.

Photographers like me found themselves with years’ worth of work and memories with no commercial value.

I obviously switched to digital, accepted the reality of fewer libraries and (sadly) lower fees, & continued working.

And my boxes of transparencies sat in my study, gathering dust.

My 2019 New Year Resolution is to digitise my body of work, to ensure that all those memories won’t be forgotten.

I’ve been concentrating on Shanghai of late, knowing we were coming here, and sharing images on my dedicated Instagram feed @decadeography. And that’s where @historicshanghai comes in.

They have told me where certain photos were taken (surely I can’t be the only person to have “view from my hotel” as a caption in their photo album?!! :P).

The lovely Tina & Patrick have ID-ed my hotel from 1983, and they even ID-ed a building that I took in 1992, but which was subsequently relocated! Yup, you read that right – a whole building was transplanted.

Today, out for a walk, I suddenly spotted a smart looking building.

Like so:

The arched windows and columns to the right caught my eye, and I remembered the photo I had earlier shared on Instagram (below).

Bingo!

@historicshanghai had mentioned that the building had been moved & also that it had been added to.

If you compare the 1992 photo of the (then) Nanking cinema with the spruced up Shanghai Concert Hall of today, you can see exactly what they mean, with that extra section to the right:

I can’t tell you how exciting it was to identify this building (with a lot of help from my friends 😛 ) and put another piece of the jigsaw puzzle of memories in place.

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