There is something inherently romantic about looking back through old film photographs, with their ability to act as windows into our past and help us rediscover intimate moments. Re-capturing these moments is the mission of the Anonymous Project, founded by filmmaker Lee Shulman to collect and preserve colour slides from all around the world that look back at the last 70 years.
Since 2017, Shulman has built up her collection to include 800,000 individual slides. While the chemicals on colour film degrade over time and eventually fade completely, meaning that most slides do not survive beyond 50 years, the Anonymous Project seeks to preserve our Kodachrome memories and in the process create new ways of storytelling.
Most recently, the project has turned attention to vintage photographs of people and their cars in new book On the Road. Published by Hoxton Mini Press and compiled by Shulman, the photo book centres on an array of unknown subjects who capture the universal feeling of excitement about the open road.
Featuring found photos from the mid-century period, the colour slides show vintage cars, family road trips, unplanned pit stops and endless vistas across the world. Together, the collection of images captures our collective memory of car journeys – whether that involves the excitement of going on holiday with your family or owning your first car.
In the book’s introductory chapter, arts journalist Tom Seymour writes: “The Anonymous Project evokes these feelings and characters, old and new. They help us recall the happenstance meetings and fleeting friendships that occur of their own accord over the course of a long journey. And they help us remember our fellow travellers; those who have chosen the road as their home. Those who now chase the endless horizon, under great open skies.”