"Avec Photo-Hall, c’est toujours mieux!"

27 Aug 2020

Every summer we take holiday snaps – for ourselves or family or followers on social media – and this comes very naturally these days, since we all have smartphones or digital cameras in our pockets. In the 1960s, however, you could count on Photo Hall to capture your best holiday moments on photographic film for you. Let’s take a quick look back in time…

This short film shows a middle-class family on their way to the seaside when the father realises he’s forgotten the camera. Oh, bother! Shouldn’t we go back for it? The children on the back seat assure him there’s no need. The ‘opérateurs’ at Photo Hall will take care of it! Sometimes they seemed to appear out of nowhere to take quick snapshots of tourists strolling along the dyke, and also found willing bathers in holiday mood who were happy to strike a quick pose for the camera. Then, the day after the photos were taken, you could take your numbered ticket to go and see the photos at the typical wooden sales stalls and buy prints if you wanted to.

What was the recipe for Photo Hall’s success? The company had an exclusive concession for professional holiday snapshots along the Belgian coast, where the company focussed its lenses on often slightly awkward holidaymakers on the North Sea beaches between 1933 and 1980. Not everyone had a camera during the post-war era, and those who did sometimes didn’t want to take it with them to the seaside in case grains of sand got into their expensive device and damaged it. Photo Hall also jumped on the colour photography bandwagon in the 1960s, capturing even more lifelike images as photo souvenirs. These were immensely popular with holidaymakers.

This advert comes from the Museum of Industry's archives. The museum takes you on a comprehensive journey looking at people and machines, showing you how they can transform the world around us. Historical short films like this advert are part of their offering which brings the industrial past back to life during your visit. This clip was their submission for 'De Beeldcapsule' (The Image Capsule) 2017.