Thursday, July 06, 2017

Stained Memories Of The Hotel Du Midi

When you are scanning old prints, there is always the chance that you will discover some detail hidden deep within the faded sepia layers of a photograph taken a hundred years or more ago. When you are scanning old glass negatives, the potential for discovery is so much greater, but such discoveries do not always enhance the image. 

This is a scan of a half-plate glass negative - the first of a set of four I bought recently. It is a group gathered outside a hotel - the Hotel Du Midi - in what looks like the late nineteenth century. It is by no means at all, a perfect image: it is blurred, it is cock-eyed and it is badly stained by some chemical substance or other.

There are, however, still delights hidden away within the silver salts. Shapes and features shout out questions with all the power of a megaphone. What was the gathering? Why are some of the participants dressed like rather grand domestic servants whilst others look like something out of Central Casting on a bad day?

I did a quick Google search for "Hotel Du Midi" and, of course, came up with a list as long as a baguette. Even when you take into account the ageing process and the stains, I can't see our Hotel Du Midi in Paris or Nice or Geneva. Our hotel was tucked away up some provincial cock-eyed road, stained into our memories. 


  1. That couple in the centre look surprisingly cheerful. Do you suppose this is a large family group at a wedding? Just about to sit down to a celebratory lunch?

  2. The hotel of noon... there is a mountain range on the border of France and Switzerland called the Dents du Midi- maybe it is near there?


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