Sunday 21 July 2013

Nystrup Seen From the Air

In many years Denmark was home to photographers who made their living by taking pictures of farm buildings and industries from the air. The biggest and best known company was 'Sylvest Jensen Luftfoto'. A pilot/photographer made the image and later sales men would show up on the properties photographed to sell the images. Not many farms or smaller industries in Denmark lacked such a photograph. My grandfather had one of his small farm, framed and hung on a wall in the living room.

All this flying and photographing means that Nystrup Gravel was most likely photographed from the air - perhaps more than once. All the Sylvest Jensen-negatives (some are glass plate) are kept at the Royal Danish Library where I and a friend had the chance to view the collection almost 15 years ago. As the collection is huge and catalogued in a simple note book system it wasn't easy to research. The Royal Danish Library has just started to digitalize the collection which will make it easy to navigate. For now, though, only the island of Fyn is online - and still incomplete. Anyone with knowledge of Danish (effectively reducing the number of users to some 5 mio.) can search and view the collection at the Royal Danish Library's site: Denmark seen from the air - before Google.
A Sylvest Jensen-photo from the Royal Danish Library archive, image H07633_025 from 1956. The 'H' in the image number indicates that the image was made with a Hasselblad camera. The photo shows the gravel works owned by Hans Jørgensen & Søn. 
The image above shows a small gravel company with two pits in the background. A water filled and exhausted pit to the right and the pit currently being used to the left - complete with a bucket and chain excavator. In the centre of the image are the sorting facilities, a maze of narrow gauge tracks, some skips, two ramps for loading lorries as well as stocks of treated gravel. The farm building is probably being used as offices, canteen and work shop. What looks like a Bedford O lorry is arriving to pick up a load of gravel.

I can only sit and wait for that wonderful aerial photograph of the sorting facilities at Nystrup, the gravel pits themselves or maybe even a lucky shot of one of the small trains running along the tracks.

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