Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sepia Saturday : Clovelly Unchanged


There are two things different about my Sepia Saturday photograph this week (three if you want to be pedantic and point out that it is monochrome rather than sepia). First it is of a place rather than a person. The place is the fishing village of Clovelly in Devon. It was taken by my father in the mid-thirties (either 1935 or 1936 I would guess) whilst he and my mother were on a motorcycling touring holiday in the south-west of England. In those pre-digital days, film and processing cost money and photographic subjects were normally limited to family and friends. If you wanted a picture of a pretty view, there were plenty of cheap postcards available, Occasionally, however, a view would have been so stunning that Great Uncle George would be ignored as the camera focussed on the background rather than the foreground. A visit to the near perfect fishing village of Clovelly where the fishing boats were dragged up the sloping beach must have been one such occasion.

The second difference with this particular picture is that it highlights constancy rather than change. Normally with Sepia Saturday pictures we are drawn to the changes : changes in clothing, changes in manner, changes in landscape. We don't need the creased corners nor the sepia toning to tell us the picture is old - it is obvious  for all to see. But with the above photograph we need to search more carefully for signs of the passage of time. I have managed to locate a photograph of the same scene taken within the last few years and it is easy to see how little has changed


The great Sepia Saturday pictures tell the story of people and their lives. They tell of challenges and hardship and change. But occasionally it is worth remembering that some things change at a much slower pace : the beach, the boats and the cottages of Clovelly are, thank goodness, a case in point.

Visit the Sepia Saturday Blog to find links to the other people taking part in Sepia Saturday this week

28 comments:

  1. That's pretty cool, actually. Are those photos from a roadway that curves around a cove?

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  2. To me, this is somewhat unusual for things to remain so much the same over a given period of time such as indicated. Thanks for sharing! :) The Bach

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  3. I like the name 'Clovelly'. How is it pronounced? It looks like 'see lovely', which is a great name. I really like the cottages and the way the boats pull right up on the sand instead of docking.

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  4. Lovely the way the houses are set right up the hillside!

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  5. I rather like being pedantic, but I shall resist.

    Those at the exact same cottages. Fascinating!!!

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  6. I love it when some things remain unchanged. I have been around a long time and know that change does not always mean improvement...a lot of beautiful and good things are lost for no good reason except the phony excuse of "progress".

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  7. That's a fascinating comparison. It's a very pretty vilage - thank goodness it is only changing slowly.

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  8. One of my all-time favourite places, and just a day trip when we lived in neighbouring Cornwall.

    Walking down to the sea is stern test of the calf muscles. I believe they used a donkey and sledge for hauling goods to and fro.

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  9. Alan, so nice. This reminds me of the Fellini movie, The Ship Sail On -- where the movie starts as an old scratched up sepia and gradually turns in into crisp color. -J

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  10. How comforting, that it's managed to escape time's effects like that.

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  11. It is nice to know some things never change.

    Except the world seems to be in colour now.

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  12. That's one of the thing I like so much about England is that one can find places where change has been carefully concealed. Which is nice when they're shooting all those wonderful period dramas that turn up on BBC.

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  13. There can't be many place which have seen so little change.

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  14. It is nice to find those places where change doesn't seem to have swept through. I think we all need those spaces.
    I love the details surrounding the taking of the photo from the 30s.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Really neat, Alan. Amazing, the juxtaposition of the two very similar photos--it takes them out of time! Things are much the same in the NY State Adirondacks--the shoreline, the lakeside camps...

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  16. Oh that was remarkable! I enjoyed reading your reminder that some things certainly do not change so much over time...that is somewhat comforting!

    Houses into the hills reminds me of my home area in PA where the houses have been there forever too!

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  17. Gosh, I am nutty for "then and now" pics, Alan. These are fascinating! Either one would make a wonderful painting.

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  18. What a pretty little village! I'm glad so much has stayed the same. Let's hope the suspension in time endures.

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  19. hey isn't that fourth boat in the bottom picture the same one on the top...no seriously, I love the two shots and your expansion of sepia saturday to place....

    looks like a wonderful place to find oneself wandering and wondering about! clovelly...quite loverly!

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  20. A truly fascinating twist on the theme. I wish there were more places relatively untouched by time like this.

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  21. wow it is amazing how little its changed. great post

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  22. What a wonderful posting! I love the idea that a place can remain unchanged for such a span of time. I only wish some of my 'special' spots could have remained the same over the years. It saddens me to know how much we have given up to achieve what we now perceive as necessary to survive.

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  23. I love this idea. What a challenge to find unchanged places! Helen

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  24. The big difference of a young country to a seasoned country, is how you treat your buildings. My own town tore down a less that 100 year old school house and opera house. We don't have a very old set of buildings but we tear it down rather than restore it. Out East they do take pride in the old buildings and proudly display signs telling the public when the leaning house or building was created. Of course 250 years or so is as old as it gets. Your pictures comparisons are wonderful.

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  25. We just wouldn't tolerate that here. We'd have to tear down those building, build some condos and level out that beach. Well, hopefully not, but it is wonderful and unusual to see so little change. It seems almost miraculous to me. And I love the idea of your parents traveling by motorcycle along the coast-very romantic.

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  26. This is so super. How lovely is Clovelly.

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  27. Yes,Alan.It's Striking How Similar the 2 Photos Are. It's Good To Notice What Remains The Same.

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  28. I can only add a variation of Vicky Lane's comment, that one of my favorite things about the South of England was how many places one could go where time had virtually stopped. Being from the Land of Tear Everything Down Older Than 30 Years, I found this especially endearing.

    On a bus on the Isle of Wight, an elderly local struck up a conversation, and as I was a tourist from America, she wondered if I thought (rural) Brits were "backward". I emphatically assured her that they were NOT, that I thought rural England was infinitely more **civilised** than America!

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