I wasn’t thinking of the 1970s song sung by Vanity Fare when I wrote that title but I was looking back into the past for my October ‘Past meets Present‘. You may recall last month I was pondering whether to create a monthly challenge for myself (and you if you are interested) of comparing photographs from the past with modern day shots. I’ve decided to go ahead with the challenge, although this month will be slightly different as I cannot return to the same place to take a modern day shot. I have though found ones that are similar.
It was the photograph above that got me thinking. In the early 1960s when Dan Stanislawki was roaming around the Algarve, motorised transport was a rarity and the use of mules, horses and cattle was commonplace. These days though it’s the other way round, hence my delight in capturing this view. A view by the way you couldn’t take today. Not because the horses and carts have all gone, although they are heading that way, but because Olhão council have destroyed the banks where this man and his horse are standing. It is now open water. It is not just the loss of the habitat which are impacting on traditional ways of life and transportation. Modern life has a huge impact. In 1963 many parts of the Algarve still needed water peddlers, and whilst some dwellings still rely on springs, wells and bottled water for drinking, water peddlers no longer exist. Or at least not like this. If wells and tanks run dry, which can happen in the summer months, then Algarvians have water delivered by tanker. The ‘gypsies’ therefore seem to be the last ones left using animals as transport, and as more of the Ria Formosa disappears to make way for hotels and golf courses the less I guess we will see of even this way of life.
Not sure what type of carts the above, look more like converted gigs that carts and it is noticeable that the wheels have tyres. In all of Dan Stanislawski’s photographs the carts have wooden wheels, the size varying with the type of the cart. Whilst a few of the type Dan observed in the 1950s and 1960s have been saved and will be found in museums I suspect most carts will have fallen into disrepair or turned into fuel. Although I did though spot one not that long ago which is not that dissimilar to the ones Dan was photographing.
Carts were not the only mechanism for transporting goods in the Algarve before the rise of the motor vehicle. Mules and their muleteers were probably one of the most common forms of goods transportation, and even with the introduction of the motor-bike many of them were still called muleeters. A true past meets present.
There always something romantic about looking back at the past, although I know I wouldn’t want to travel to the market on a mule! Quite happy for that hardship to remain in the past and not in the present. If you fancy joining in with past meets present’, then do. You don’t need to be in Portugal and your photographs don’t need to be of Portugal either. The rule is simple . . just find a photograph from yesteryear and then take one this month of the same or similar. The tag is #past meets present and if you link back here, even better.