The University Record, January 8, 2001

‘Europe 1950’ focus of exhibition at Pierpont Commons

‘Europe 1950,’ an exhibition of photographs by Cecil Eby, professor emeritus of English language and literature, will be on display through Feb. 2 at the Pierpont Commons Gallery Wall. The post-World War II photographs capture Eby’s vision of the ‘real’ Europe, before mass tourism.

After graduating from college, Eby set off for Europe aboard the Queen Mary with a $50 bellows camera called the ‘Speedex’ and a dozen rolls of film. ‘When I returned to the United States late in 1950, I turned my aunt’s bathroom into a darkroom, made contact prints of my photos . . . and proceeded to forget about them,’ Eby writes. ‘Then in 1997, I came across my old album and was immediately struck by the fact that the Europe I had put on film no longer existed.’

Changes in transportation constitute the greatest difference, Eby notes, between the Europe of today and that of 1950. The Great Depression and World War II slowed progress. ‘Europe existed in a kind of time warp that evoked an even earlier period of time,’ Eby comments.

Above is ‘In Languedoc: Ragman on Perigueux Road’ by Cecil Eby.

Photo courtesy Pierpont Commons