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Lost in Light is a videoblog about small gauge filmmaking featuring weekly posts of home movies, work by artists, articles by preservationists and film scholars, video tutorials and other film gems.




Marking the first year

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In this film full of delicious looking food, our contributor Ashima turns one year old. She tells us more:

My 1st year birthday party (1969) in Albany Village which is student housing in Berkeley, CA. My father was working on his PhD at UC-Berkeley (Industrial Engineering).

This was a typical Indian gathering, outside and with lots of food. Mama made a lot of the Indian food, but she got the cake and sandwiches catered. There were probably 30+ people in attendance.

There is a man holding me whose name is Russ. He was friends with my Leo Uncle. Leo and Ruth were two individuals who became like my Papa and Mama’s second parents in the US. We always had Easter and Thanksgiving with them when we lived in CA.

Anyway, Mama is wearing a sari that Papa gave her as a wedding gift. She still owns it! The two older girls are Raman (who lives in Detroit now) and Sunaina (not sure where she is now). Then, the other two babies I’m sitting with her friends I used to play with a lot. Mama couldn’t remember their names. The blue outfit I am wearing was sent to my Mama by her Mama. Ruth Auntie and my mama found the tights at a dime store called Kresge.

Interestingly, the Kresge dime store was the forerunner to the modern Kmart. Here are some fantastic recordings of the in-store background music to truly put you back in the 1960s Kresge experience. Read more about the history of the Kresge and Kmart stores here. And the Kresge Foundation website is here.

Click “MPEG-2” above for a high resolution version of this film and more from Ashima at the Internet Archive.


click image to view in Flash | Quicktime | MPEG-2

This week, a charming tour of one of my favorite childhood haunts in the Bay Area, Children’s Fairyland. Located near Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, this theme park based on children’s literature is still very much alive, and not much changed from what we see in this film, submitted by Ashima here in Grand Rapids.

Ashima has a few words to add:

Must be 1968 and my Papa is holding me in the beginning. Papa was always wanting to use his camera to take pictures and video of me. Mama said that they had planned to send them to India, but never did.

Here’s another great set of photos from this unique place. A fun YouTube home movie that takes us down the rabbit hole in the Alice in Wonderland section. Here‘s a current bird’s eye view of the park, and an aerial view from Google maps.

Click the MPEG-2 link above for a high resolution version of this home movie on the Internet Archive.

Doting Mother

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This week, a beautiful and tender movie of a mother clearly in love with her new baby. Submitted by Ashima here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the film features footage from California’s Bay Area in the late 1960s. A bit more detail from Ashima, who was the baby in the film:

Circa 1968 at Albany Village. Outside the apartment, the red car is what my parents used to drive. The red dress I am wearing my mama made. She used to make a lot of the clothes as long as the fabric cost less than $.25.

Next, outside on the lawn on the University campus. The pram was used for both Ashima and Shailesh [Ashima’s brother, born later]. Sari was silk given by Mama’s mama when she got married. Building is near or around Berkeley campus. Hippie is some guy playing the guitar on Berkeley’s campus. My mama said that she didn’t think of him as a hippie, he was just a nice person playing pretty music. How sweet is that?! I love that shot! My mom in a sari and this dude playing guitar! Cultures come together peacefully!

Albany Village is now known as UC Village, a student housing complex just outside of the University of California at Berkeley campus. Ashima’s father was was then working on his Ph.D in Industrial Engineering.

Ashima and her parents at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Click the “MPEG-2” link above for high-resolution footage of this lovely film from the Internet Archive.

Chicago Wedding, 1948

click image to view in Flash | Quicktime | MPEG-2

Here in West Michigan, my student, Evan, brought me a box of wonderful footage of his family’s home movies, a number of which we’ll be featuring here. The first is the wedding of grandparents in the late 1940s, and includes images of Evan’s great-grandparents – one of those amazing events to have preserved on film.

Evan explains:

It’s the wedding of Ken and Jan Rattenbury (maiden name – Baxter)
The date is actually Sept. 18th, 1948 at St. Benedict’s in Chicago.
Behind the camera is Gardner Kreiser, the bride’s 2nd cousin.

Evan also shared the emails his grandparents sent with more details about the wedding (I love emails from grandparents):

Dear Evan, The pictures are Mine and your Grandmother’s Wedding on Sept 18, 1948. The pictures were made by Jan’s Uncle Gardner. The pictures are mostly the family. The two old ladies are your great-grandmothers. The lady with the pink flowered hat is my mother (Alice Rattenbury), and the car was our good friend Eddie Roger’s who took us away. Hope that is enough. Love grampa

Hi Evan: It’s your gramma. I just saw the movies and they are super. Haven’t watched any of them since your folks first sent the VCR’s. Terri Spies was my maid of honor, Uncle Bruce (Rattenbury) was Best Man (lady in red and the guy next to her in the second shot of her), my grandmother and Grampa’s grandmother were the oldest people in the movie. So many of our friends and relatives are gone!!! My dad (John Baxter) was the one with the sexy mustache, The church was St. Benedict’s down on the corner where we lived in Chicago.

Click the “MPEG-2” link above for a high-resolution version of this film, provided by the Internet Archive.


click image to view in Flash | Quicktime | MPEG-2

This week, we present an orphan film, purchased some time ago on eBay by Tony P. in France. The film features a visit to the small French town of Oradour-Sur-Glane, the site of the infamous massacre of 642 people – almost the entire population – by Germans during World War II. The remnants of destruction, seen throughout this film, have remain untouched as a memorial of this catastrophic event.The date of this film is unknown, but judging from the quality of the film and reel I would say it was fairly recently shot – 1980s or 1990s.

The story behind the images is too vast and complex to present here; instead, click here, here, and here for accounts that better explain and document the historical significance of this event.

See also this photo slideshow with accompanying map for a better sense of the geography of these locations.

Thanks to Tony P. for sending this all the way from France to us in Michigan for inclusion on this site.

Click the “MPEG-2” link above for a high-resolution version of the film, downloadable via the Internet Archive.

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