While unpacking another of the thousand-or-so boxes we moved from our previous residence, I came across a folder with some of my late father’s experimental prints. As one of many hobbies, Hyla Noble was into early colour photography, developing, printing, and enlarging. Being trials of various kinds, all the pictures have some faults, and the colour ones have faded completely. They are also water-damaged, scratched, and torn in many instances. It is remarkable, though, how a good deal of work with some basic software can restore them. It has proved a major distraction from all the other things I am supposed to be doing, though.
I was thrilled to find this old picture of my late father and mother, his three brothers and the wives of the two who married, together with two unknown (but probably related) ladies. I don’t ever recall having seen it before. At a guess, I would say it was taken at Beach House Hotel at The Heads, Knysna, no longer in existence but which was owned by my grannie. My father would have posed and set it up, but I have no idea who actually pressed the shutter. Dad is the one who looks like the airman/motorcyclist he was. Any guesses as to which of the brothers are twins?
Then I came across a picture of myself with four cousins from the parents shown. Here, would anyone like to guess which brat is yours truly?
We are now divided by distance, as some are still in the Cape while others are in Australia and New Zealand.
Now we move to another family. The pictures were taken by my father in 1947, at an official function close to Victoria Falls in (then) Rhodesia. He had travelled there on his motorcycle at the request of Knysna artist WG Wiles, who had been commissioned to do portraits and wanted photos for reference. I understand that most of the resultant paintings are privately owned by members of the British Royal Family.
My father related that while he was there he saw the then Princess Elizabeth approaching unexpectedly, and in his agitation he tripped and fell. She (rather unkindly) laughed uproariously at the sight, and to his later profound regret he was so captivated by her spontaneous mirth that it didn’t even occur to him to take a picture of it.
I wonder what I’ll find when I have time to dig a bit more?