The first thing I ever coveted was a Polaroid camera that my older brother got for Christmas one year—I am guessing it was around 1980. My brother did use it once and a while, but I knew deep down that I treasured it more than he did and was left to admire it from afar. It was not until a few years later that I got a camera of my very own: a Kodak Disc. The camera was OK, but definitely not as cool as the Polaroid that my brother had, but still I was excited!

I grew up with my relatives constantly taking photos at family events. My grandmother would get double and sometimes even triple copies of every roll of film she took, just so her grandchildren could pick which family photos they wanted to keep for themselves. And my father took pictures of everything—I mean everything. From family functions, snow storms, and automobiles, to deer droppings and dead birds ( he was an avid outdoorsman and hunter). My father’s mother had a large number of albums filled with photographs from the 1800’s and on. You can say that photography is in my blood.

My dad is the type of person who saves everything, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Fortunately, he saved boxes and boxes of slides that he took during the 70’s and 80’s. He explained to me that back then, film was too expensive, so he took all his photos with slides instead of film. The catch was, that most were never developed.

A few years ago, I went through hundreds of slides and narrowed it down and paid for 400 slides to be made into digital files. Hidden in his photos are some real gems that I must share:

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The Combat Zone in Boston. I just adore the “Boston Bunnies” and “Pilgrim” signs. I have always been a big fan of old school neon. Can you imagine having peep shows in Boston today? I am so glad that my father captured this and saved the slides all these years.

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More examples of cool signage in what was once the adult entertainment district in downtown Boston.

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And how can you not love all the great graphics going on in this photo, not to mention that cool red car. What an interesting time it must have been. Have you ever been to the Intermission Tavern at 228 Tremont Street in Boston? Did you know that it was named after the Intermission Lounge, where in the 1970’s had dancing and entertainment? Read more about the Combat Zone and why it is no longer.

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This last image does not focus on the adult entertainment, but I had to keep it in this blog because of the great Friday the 13th sign at Saxon Theater . This photo must have been taken in May, 1980 since that is when the movie was released. According to Wikipedia, the Saxon (originally name The Majestic) was built in 1903. Vaudeville shows were on view there in the 1920’s and in the 1950’s was made into a movie house. It is now owned by Emerson college and is known as Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Paying to get my father’s slides digitized is the best money I’ve spent. I discovered that I am very much like my father by wanting to capture moments in time with photography and it has allowed me to briefly see through his eyes.

 

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