Special post: A journey through old Spain & Europe 1966-1975

A wonderful collection of old photographs from my Dad's old Kodachrome slide collection that I secretely catalogued, scanned and printed. Join me for a look back in time - 50 years into the past!

After getting my hands on my Dad's 1,800 (yes, one thousand eight hundred!) old Kodachrome slides from his collection, what else could I do but secretely bring them back with me to Germany with the aim of starting a mammoth of a project: re-organising, cataloguing, scanning, printing, and putting into an album. The ultimate Christmas present for sure!

A short family history lesson will provide some useful context to these very varied photographs. My Dad arrived in Spain in 1966 (so 50 years ago this year!) with the US Air Force. He has been a musician his whole life and was sent to Spain as part of the US Air Force Band, being stationed at the Torrejon Air Base, just outside Madrid. 

My Dad, Jim, has always lived in the same house. The house you will see in these photographs was once on the "outskirts" of Madrid, and now it is relatively central, with the city having grown around it. It is also the same house my older brother and sister (Adam & Kelli) grew up in. To say the house has history is an understatement, this address being the very centre of this part of the Kashishian family.

As part of his job with the Air Force Band my Dad travelled, extensively, all throughout Spain and Europe. And, thankfully he had a camera with him most of the time! Having forgotten what the old "slide look" actually looks like, I was fascinated by the range of colours and brightness these slides have. It was also a mini history lesson, talk about times gone by. 

Before I get into the selection of photographs, let's go back to the effort itself. I had "borrowed" a box of memories, but unfortunately they were just slides in a box, with no or little order! Thankfully each slide had a date imprint on it (month/year), and so started the long (trust me, long means long!) task of organising these all by year, as the photographs below suggest.

Note: I highly recommend looking at these photographs on a laptop/computer where possible, you will see far more in terms of depth and colours that the old Kodachrome slides retained.

Step 1: layout and organize

Step 2: buy special slide boxes and start adding!

Step 3: look through each photo and decide which to send for scanning. I ended up with 375 to scan out of 1,800. 

Our house, 1966

Our house, 50 years later (I took this today - 28th of December, 15 degrees celcius and blue sunny skies, it is no wonder my Dad arrived in 1966 and never left...)


Step 4: print and start creating the album - hours of fun!

So, back to the photos. And let me start from the beginning, having found a lot of photographs I had never seen before, they really were a look back in time. 

Photography runs in the family: my grandfather attempting a trick shot. My Dad on the left and my Aunt Gracia on the right (circa 1955)

March Air Force base, California (c. 1965)

My grandfather at the family's rug company in Long Beach, California

Our house in Madrid, 1966

The house, today (i.e. shot now!)

Below are some shots from Madrid in the late 1960s. It looks quite similar to today, except for the cars!

Shots below are from Venice (1968), my Dad with his mates from the band. Looks like they were all keen photographers too...

An overcast Istanbul shot...

Somewhere in Spain, look at the depth of the landscape, that's Kodakchrome for you....

Somewhere else on the coast...late 1960's...

A trip to Rome and Pisa, early 70's

My Dad has always had a love of classic cars, some good shots including old Spain, California, and somewhere enroute to Italy as background below...

A trip to Munich and obviously enjoying the local beers...

Street photography 1960s style...

More on the sombre side, but historically fascinating - a trip to Berlin and views of the Berlin Wall (c. 1969)

I found some great shots of a trip to Austria, it is amazing to me that these slides are 50 years old and look as if they were taken today

One of the band's jobs was to play at many of the Spanish "fiestas" that were held all over Spain, many including bull fighting. A photo of the Air Force Band below in a bullring.

Images below taken in Chinchon, a lovely town about 50km southeast of Madrid. They convertered (and still do today) the main plaza into a bullring as part of the fiestas...

This bullfighting ring also used as one of the main scenes in the film Around the world in 80 days. Panoramic photo below (photo: Wikipedia)

A cool shot over Athens from an Air Force plane...

And to finish off a selection of photos from various Spanish fiestas...

So there you have it, certainly very worthwhile those hours I spent looking through each and evey single slide to pick out the best ones. It is great to see photo evidence that brings to life all those many stories my Dad told us (and repeats many times as all Fathers do!). 

Here is a shot of a quite surprised Jim on Christmas Day looking through the 100 page album!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed this mini project!

For my 52 roll project I have weeks 10 & 11 shot and being develop so watch out next week sometime. 

As always thanks for reading and I hope you get some inspiration - from this photographic history lesson - to go out and shoot more photographs!

Happy New Year!