When Dave Tomkins discovered 50 snapshots tucked away in a cupboard at his family’s home in Newcastle, Australia, he asked the photographer for caption information.
Unfortunately, his grandfather, Stephen Clarke, who had recently been moved to a nursing home, did not recall the locations he had photographed in the 1960s. In June 2014, eight years after his discovery and nearly a year after the death of his 90-year-old grandpa, Tomkins posted the images online, asking strangers for help. Eight days later, he could fill in the blanks for 45 of the photos. No. 3: the top of the Empire State Building in Manhattan. No. 24: Via Ricciarelli in Volterra, Italy. No. 47: Le Richemond hotel in Geneva. On a trip home a few months later, he labeled three more photos.
In total, his grandfather had wielded his Voigtländer Bessamatic in 17 cities in seven countries on three continents. Or maybe more? The locales of No. 1 and No. 31 remain a mystery.
On his website, Tomkins provides a few clues. For No. 1, he surmises: “The driver of the car is on the left meaning that this isn’t Australia, Hong Kong or any countries that have ties to the commonwealth. As these countries all drive on the right. The semi fortified buildings on top of a hill (usually a church) are common in many countries in Europe.” For No. 31, he shares this tidbit: “The biggest clue from the photo are the two bodies of water.”
Tomkins, a freelance art director in New York City who has visited the destinations with the same model camera, is not giving up. He said he will “continue to search for the last locations and work more on sharing Grandpa’s beautiful photos.”
To assist Tomkins with his mission, here are the missing photos. Post your guesses in the Comments section below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details on Tomkins’s project, plus all 50 images: grandpas-photos.com.
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