Reflections of the Past

It was the love of photography that first bought my mum Shirley Gregory and her best friend Olive together, Shirley was a professional wedding photographer in Perth, through the 70’s and 80’s, while Olive traveled the world documenting her journeys with her camera and a love of photography. Olive did not aspire to be professional, but she had a very keen eye for finding the amazing, and seeing beyond what most people might, and she chose to capture moments that many others may not have bothered to.

Olive always had a story to tell, and my sister and I always enjoyed listening to her stories about the places she had been, the adventures she had experienced, and the things she had seen. She lived an amazing life, and while she was not blessed with children of her own, my mum had four and we were more than happy to share many of our family times.

Olive passed away peacefully at the age of 90 years, and my mum left us at 70 years. Like many before them they both left behind a lot of memorabilia, which included Olive’s slide collection. Unfortunately, due to improper storage, a large portion of this collection was lost, but what could be salvaged was truly remarkable. Not only are they from the 1950’s & 1960’s they are in full color.

Following in my mother’s footsteps, I have been a professional photographer since early adulthood, and while asking myself why it took so long to go through Olive’s amazing archive of slides, I was simultaneously excited that I had? It was during the covid lock down that I decided to embark on a project of my own, photographing well known, and not so well known corners of Perth and it’s surrounds, but perhaps not as most people would, I was looking for a different viewpoint. I remember setting out on a

particular rainy day, just wandering around to see what caught my eye and looking for things that might stand out, and so began my ‘Reflections’ journey. Before long I had 100’s of shots from around Perth. A desire to share my new-found passion then led to my Instagram page, ‘Reflections of Perth’ (@reflectionsofperth). On any other rainy night, you would find me heading out on the search for puddles, large or small, a surface where I could find the perfect reflection. After photographing people for so many years it was nice to be outside with just a camera and my own thoughts. This exploration of my own led me to explore Olive’s slides more closely. What excites me most about these old slides is that they are in color and provide a rare glimpse back into our history. Being invited to look back through windows into the past and having the opportunity to view colored examples of how things looked 60-70 years ago, (before so many of us were born), is alluring. Select images of Western Australian locations bring a sense of intriguing familiarity. Vintage cars on Canning Bridge, or scenes of Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbor, a Surf Carnival at Cottesloe beach, or Images of Albany, one of the oldest settlements in Western Australia, each a memento of times past.

…and so, with a little loving care and drawing on some industry expertise, (my husband and I have been professional photographers for over 30 years), we have been working to bring the images on these old slides back to life.

I think it’s time to see some of the highlights of Olive’s collection, a series of reflections on times gone by, and I am so excited to be able to share them with a wider audience, she would have wanted that.

Lynette Hewitt