SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Strange Fourth: 1955

Strange Fourth: 1955

At first glance this might appear to be a photo of a boy playing with sparklers, accompanied by The Mummy. Actually, it's me with my father, who happened to turn his head during this slow exposure. We're on the Russian River beach at Guernewood, California, a couple blocks from our vacation home. Another oddity about this Ektachrome slide by my brother: he was at the height of his camera bug phase, and decided to try developing the film himself, using a Kodak home processing kit, back home in Mother's kitchen sink. I remember the scene, really a mental snapshot of him in the darkened kitchen. This shot, along with others on the roll, exhibit processing anomalies, such as the flurry of red blobs and the aura emanating from the top of my head. The event itself was tons of fun. We semi-successfully shot a rocket over the river, and I remember gleefully watching black snakes curling about on the sand. And the aroma! View full size.

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is full of such wonderful memories and what a delight it is to share them here on Shorpy.


We did the snakes on the sidewalk during the day, on the 4th and days later until we ran out.

And this is a great picture.

Happy accidents

All the "mistakes" in this photo make it a beautiful image. Your dad's mummy-face is fantastic.

On the sand?

When I was a kid, we had to place the snake pellets on open, hard surface, as instructed on the box. That meant using the sidewalk or front porch, leaving large scorch marks that drove Dad into a high dudgeon.

Happy Independence Day

Thanks for your post.

Always look forward to your trips down memory lane.

I just moved from Santa Rosa to Chicago and I have fond memories myself.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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