A dark room with a slide being projected onto a wall. In the foreground are lights from the projector, from where the photo is being taken
A slide being projected onto a wall in a darkened room.

When I set off on my travels in the mid 1980’s, I took a SLR camera with me. From my memory I had two lenses, a 35mm and a zoom lens the size of which I cannot remember. I believe that I also had a couple of filters with me. I did not know a lot about photography, though had been reading a little on the subject, and wanted to take the best photos that I could to remember and give me a flavour of my time away.

I decided to take slide film, though I cannot remember what drove that decision? Based on my reading, the film that I decided to take with me was Kodachrome 64. The price of purchasing the film also included the developing of it by Kodak. When you bought a roll of film, they provided you with an envelope with which to return the exposed film to Kodak for processing. I purchased a number of rolls and they were going to last me for the time that I was away. I had no idea if film would be available where I was travelling to, and so I left home with the understanding that what I took with me had to last the entire trip. So I had to make sure that I had enough film and at the same time did not get carried away snapping shots. I was not travelling with the largest backpack.

Again from my memory, I carried these films around with me for all the time that I was away. In the case of the images that I have shown here to date, that was a year long trip. Once I was back home I mailed them all off to Kodak to be developed, and thankfully they survived the trip in one piece.

A bustling train station in India with passengers walking, standing, and talking; some are seated waiting for trains. Platform shelters and station signage are visible, alongside luggage and a vendor cart. The view is framed by a train on the right edge.
A bustling train station somewhere in India, taken from the door of a train.

Now that I am revisiting those years on the road, I needed some way to get them from slide into my digital world. I believe that there are some services out there that will digitize your analogue images, but this wasn’t going to work for me, at least not right now. My slides are in a mess, there are a lot of them, and so I am working my way through them in a rather hit and miss manner. And I want them now, so that I can write as I come across images. Digitization might come in time, but not yet. So here is plan B.

Plan B

Plan B happened by accident. One evening I set some of my slides in a carousel and loaded them into my projector. In a darkened room my wife, Melissa, and I sat down to look at the images, for me to be reminded of places that I had forgotten about, and for Melissa to see where I travelled to during my earlier years. While we were watching them, Melissa liked some of the images so much that she used her phone to capture what we were looking at.


A small square in Kathmandu surrounded by many buildings. In the middle is an old Buddhist Stupa with prayer wheels around it. A string of old prayer flags hang from its top. In front a group of men sit on the ground, one with an umbrella to shade from the sun. A klutch of bicycles lie against a concrete base of a pole. To the right a man cycles away. In the foreground a porter carries an enormous white load using a hemp rope over his forehead
A small square in Kathmandu. The porters could carry impossible loads.

I now had a way of getting the photos from analogue to digital. I initially did some colour editing of the phone captured images, but did not like the results. So now I just leave them, just editing to straighten the images as they are captured at an angle to the wall projection to avoid shadows creeping onto the images from the projector light. The result might not be as good as a scanned, digitized image, but with the quality of phone cameras these days, I am more than happy with the result; the slightly vintage, aged look lending a mood to the photos.

And perhaps most important for me are the memories that these images invoke. I am returning to them after a period of almost thirty five years.

A female tourist and a policeman consulting a book, possibly a travel book, in the middle of a busy Indian road.
A tourist consulting a book with an Indian policeman.