May to September ’75

This set of photos comes from a small, pocket-sized album with 10 pages, providing for one photo per page, front and back, 20 photos in all. There are eight photos in the album. The earliest dates from May 1975 and the latest is dated September the same year. Two photos are in tact; another two have been clipped so they would fit in to the album. Three photos have been cut clean in half, then Cellotaped back together to form, visually speaking, a nonsensical panorama. One photo is cut in a dog-leg contour so as to leave the scene ostensibly in tact, but, seemingly, to redact a third party.

It features members of the US Air Force stationed in the UK. In the shot of the man standing next to the blue car, the barracks buildings of the camp can be seen in the background. One would have to assume that these soldiers were only in Britain for a short while, so it would seem unlikely that this album belonged to one of them. More likely, it was owned by the ebullient bonne vivante with whom they are seen partying here.

In the image of them picnicking in the front garden, it is nice to see they found some home comforts in the form of a Colonel Sander’s Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket meal, a fast-food outlet that first opened in the UK in Preston in 1968. The Morris Minor ‘Woody’ wagon in the background also has echoes of American surf culture. Four photos show an American football game. The focus of the photographer’s attention in these shots seems to be the player wearing shirt number 80.

Full contact American football had been part of the American military athletic programme since 1893. After WWII, numbers of American airmen stationed in the UK stayed on at bases that remained around the country, as well as other countries in Europe. In 1951, US Air Force Europe began to sponsor an American Football League so that these different camps could play one another. In 1952, the Furstenfetlbruck Eagles beat the Burtonwood Bullets 26-7 in the final at Wembley stadium in front of a crowd of 30,000. This league lasted throughout most of the first cold war.

Nigel Martin Shephard

Published by The Family Museum

We are an archival project about amateur family photography, based in London and set up by filmmaker Nigel Shephard and editor Rachael Moloney.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: