Home Cameras/Lenses Olympus Photo Archives: Blast from the past brings in a nice little commission

Photo Archives: Blast from the past brings in a nice little commission


It’s surprising how much use I’m being able to make of many of my older shots after sifting through the archives and enhancing some of the material that hasn’t stood the test of time very well.

One such is the above shot of the start of the 1986 Australia GP in Adelaide [Ed: This was a mistake, the year is actually 1987, see comments to this article]. It appeared on my blog back in February 2014. Now, by some means, a curator at the Australian National Motor Museum in South Australia found it and contacted me asking if they could use it as a backdrop for a forthcoming exhibition on the Australia GP—he even offered a small fee. I took this with an Olympus OM2 with 28mm Zuiko lens on Konica colour negative film. I can’t recollect why I was using this particular film but I suspect it was heavily discounted at the time and I probably bought a brick of it. 

The snag is that the photo was taken on colour negative film and it has deteriorated badly. The photo on the blog was a small scan made by me some years ago. So I made a high-resolution scan over the weekend and spent a few hours trying to remove all the spots and correct the discolouration. I was only partially successful. The emulsion is breaking up—probably because it was not washed and stabilised properly by the lab when it was processed but, then, they did not expect me to be making an HR scan of it 30 years later.

Anyway much to my surprise the curator is happy with the photo: ”I actually like the blurred sort of effect that the magnified photo gives, and our designer agrees so we will have this as the backdrop to our Australian Grand Prix display.”

This is the second photo which has been found on my blog in the last few months. Back in November a US advetising agency decided they would like to use one of my shots as big backdrop on a manufacturer’s stand at the Los Angeles Motor show. They paid me a good licence fee for that one: Charity has its limits.

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  1. Nice job on the photo, John. I recently had to retrieve some family photos from slides from the 1960s to the 1990s and it was quite a bit of work, particularly on the cleaning side of things. The results made it all worthwhile. The colours here are very rich and, to my eye, accurate.

    Just one small point. This was, I believe, the race from 1987 as Ferrari (on pole) and McLaren shared the front row that year. Also, I can see that the Lotus is in its yellow Camel colours. In 1986 Lotus ran in the black John Player colours.

    Sorry, I am bit of a motor racing ‘anorak’. Sad, but true.

    Best Wishes


    • Oh dear. Perhaps I made a mistake when editing John’s article. If so, many apologies. Over to the maestro in Sydney……

  2. William , you are correct it is the 1987 race.I did identify it correctly in my original blog post which the National Motor Museum spotted see http://therollingroad.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/another-turbo-era.html
    However when I rescanned the negative last weekend it was in a sleeve marked "1986 AGP" and I just picked this up without thinking twice and ran with it for the text which has appeared in Macfilos.My apologies.
    I should add that most of the negative sleeves in my enormous archives are unmarked so it is ironic that when a negative is in one which is annotated it is wrong.


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