My mother presented me with a mixed collection of my late father’s transparencies on one of my visits. Mostly good family photos as expected, but also photographs of a few places he had visited on his frequent international business trips away from England. Dad would often set up the projector on his return and give us children a slide show of his latest trip which were fun and educational, but I don’t remember seeing these photos from New York. Not surprising really, because as far as I can tell these images were shot in either 1962 or 1963 when I was only about four or five years old.
Joseph Higham was a keen amateur photographer and he became a knowledgeable collector of Nikon cameras. He was a contributor of articles to the journal of the Nikon Historical Society, within which his meticulously hand-drawn diagrams of camera mechanisms showed his flair for engineering. In the 1960s I think he was using a Nikon F, and it’s very likely these photos were taken with that model. Fascinated and entertained by new people and places, he had an enthusiasm for street photography and his sense of composition was enhanced by his graphic design abilities as he had been an art school student, but later his career developed into manufacturing and engineering.
I’ve never been to New York, but no doubt these scenes will be recognised by natives and those who love the city. A few things that struck me looking at these images: the streets are clean and tidy, the dress of many of the citizens is stylish, and the photos reveal a transitional period with architectural styles morphing into late 20th Century. And the cars are great.
I scanned the slides with an Espon V370 and there’s been only a limited attempt to remove dust, marks and scratches. So presentation is on the whole unpolished but I hope authentically captures New York at that time.
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