I did a little yard sale a few weeks back and returned home to a message from a reader. It contained a screenshot of a post on a local Facebook page informing people about an apartment being emptied in St Michel. I got the message many hours after the fact, and figured I was probably too late to find anything good. In the Plateau an obviously interesting trash pile (ie: one that attracts attention even from casual pickers) will often be ripped to shreds within a few hours.
I had planned on doing a trash run in the area regardless, so I went and checked it out just in case. As you probably expect by now, there were indeed still things to be found and the pile itself was surprisingly intact. The trunks in the original picture were long gone, but most of those bags and milk crates remained – and seemed largely untouched.
Maybe the pile survived that long because there’s less foot traffic in St Michel as compared to the Plateau. But it could also be that the stuff didn’t look all that interesting at first glance.
A lot of what I saved was stored inside old binders, the kind I would have used back in high school. But instead of containing old school notes these mostly contained old slides and photos.
I should be able to make a few bucks off the one binder of Expo 67 photos.
It contains about eight pages of slides, most of which look well shot and well captioned.
I think my photos of the slides came out pretty well all things considered. Some turned out better than others, but unfortunately I couldn’t spend too much time on them. If you want to zoom in on the photos below, click on them and find the “view full-size” button on the bottom right hand side of the screen.
My plan at the most is to auction them on eBay. I don’t usually do auctions, but I figure that Expo 67 market is reasonably hot right now, and auctions make it so that I don’t have to think too hard about pricing.
Otherwise, a lot of the photos feature various flora, fauna, and fungi. His knowledge of plants looks to have been pretty good, as many of them are captioned with their latin names.
These slides were the most usual. They were taken in Africa in the 50s and 60s …
… and this particular page features multiple elephants being butchered. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you have a weak stomach) my photo of this page didn’t come out as clearly as some of the others.
I wonder how common photos of Africa are from that era. I suspect they’re still common enough, but I’m sure they’re less common than tourist photos of Europe and North America. Personally, I’ve found photos from the north of Africa before (like Egypt and Tunisia), but never from the area around the equator. Most of these photos look to have been taken in Gabon, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic. It wasn’t immediately clear, from my brief study of the photos, what the photographer was doing in the area.
I also found binders of developed photos, including some of birds …
… and a few smaller albums filled with photos of local pow-wows. The location of these photos is unclear, but the other ones were taken in Kanesatake near Oka. They were all taken in the mid 1990s.
I found one film, a 16mm reel that was captured in Gabon in the 1950s. It could be interesting to digitize.
I also saved a pillow bag full of negatives that were taken in Nepal …
… and some smaller items suitable for the yard sale pile. The 80s watches are kind of neat, I’ll throw a battery in them and see if they work.
The coins were mostly from France in the 50s and 60s. The tokens on the right are for old French public telephones. None of these are worth much, but they’re good yard sale material.
All in all this was a pretty interesting pile. I would guess that the person who took the photos has passed on. If he was in Africa in the early 1950s that would make him at least 85 years old today. That’s not too old of course, but I have a hard time seeing someone deciding to throw away their life’s work like this. It’s a bit sad to find these things on the curb, but I like to think that he might have been happy to know that others are appreciating his work.
I owe thanks to the reader who informed me of this spot, as otherwise it’s unlikely that I would have happened upon it. If anyone else knows of an intriguing garbage pile, feel free to send me an email.
I plan on doing a yard sale tomorrow at 4096 Coloniale near Duluth. My storage space there is a total mess and I want to get it organized while it’s still warm out. Hope to see you there!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.