Postcards from Asia: Beautiful Snapshots of Asian Towns During the 1950s

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If you've ever been curious about what some Asian towns and cities looked like from several decades ago, we're sure you'll be delighted to browse through a gallery of photos taken by a U.S. Air Force airman during the 1950s, shared by his son on Flickr. Read on to view the photos and find out more!

Around three years ago, Iowa-based photographer Phil Roeder posted an impressive gallery of photos of Asia taken in the early 1950s by his father, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. According to Phil, his airman dad was based in Asia, primarily in Okinawa, and he had the chance to visit Hong Kong, Manila, Taipei, and Macau aside from the villages in Okinawa.

The impressive snaps were taken by his dad using a Zeiss Ikon Contessa rangefinder with a folding Tessar f2.8/45mm lens loaded with 35mm Kodachrome slide film. Most of the photos he uploaded were taken between September 1953 and August 1954. He also retained the caption written by his dad on each slide.

Take a look at some of the photos from Phil’s gallery below:

Macau – from old fort – 30 Dec 53; Macau – Coffin at Chinese Funeral – 30 Dec 53; Junk at Macau – 30 Dec 53
Kowloon – Hong Kong street scene – 29 Dec 53; Floating City Kowloon – Hong Kong – 2 Jan 54
Manila pedestrians and Jeepneys – Sep 54; Manila Cathedral – Sep 54; Manila – Walled City – Sep 54
Hong Kong – 1 Jan 54; Hong Kong – We rode back to Oki in one of these planes – 3 Jan 54; Hong Kong – British & N. China Flags – 1 Jan 54
Walled City thru gate – 2 Jan 54;
L-R Fumiko, Eureko, Hideko, Kazuko at Ishikawa; Naha – Sep 53; Good View of Fruit & Vegetable Market – Naha – Sep 53

Phil compiled and published his father’s photos in an ebook entitled WE RODE BACK TO OKI IN ONE OF THESE PLANES.

On his dad’s photography, Phil said:

What I personally find most interesting about these photos is that very few of them have anything to do with the military: they are of the places he saw and the people he met while being half-a-world from home.

While my Dad returned home and become a successful dentist, I have no doubt that he had both the eye and the spirit to have been a great photographer.

What do you think of these blast from the past photos of Asian towns and cities during the early 1950s? Share your insights with a comment below!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-06-29 in #lifestyle #macau #vintage #lomography #hong-kong #taipei #asia #manila #1950 #analogue-lifestyle #postcards-from-asia #okinawa

2 Comments

  1. sifree
    sifree ·

    I grew up in Hong Kong in the 80s/90s. It's fascinating to see what it looked like in the 50s. Especially in such stunning high quality colour images. :)

  2. beblo
    beblo ·

    The 3 photographs of Manila shown here were just about 8 years after the end of World War II. If the history books that I read were correct, Manila was declared an "Open City", before the Japanese Army formally surrendered. Manila was almost leveled to the ground. Or the history books might be wrong. The Philippines is a big country, there are lots of beautiful sceneries back then,especially in the 1950s.

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