When in 2014, Dylan Scalet inherited a sizable collection of photos captured by his grandfather Jack Sharp, he didn’t expect much. It actually took him 6 years—and COVID-19 lockdown happening—to finally begin to digitize the film. What he discovered was a treasure trove of incredible photographs depicting street life in Europe more than half a century ago. Scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview with Scalet!

More info: Instagram | jacksharp.co.uk

He was really excited about his grandfather’s treasure trove. Scalet was born after his grandfather had died and did not have a chance to meet him, so it was like getting to know him. “I was really excited to discover what was inside all of the boxes I had inherited. There was so much, it could be anything! As you can imagine, I was pleasantly surprised, which made the scanning process less tedious as it took weeks to fetch through all of it. As I had come to learn about the great photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier, I simply could not believe the images I was seeing as I dived into the archive. I knew instantly that these photos were special. Not just because they were my grandfather’s, but because I was able to recognize the beauty of these photographs objectively. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work, but getting this out seemed like the right thing to do,” says Scalet to Bored Panda.

Scalet had always intended to digitize the film, but waited for the right time to invest in a high-quality scanner. When the pandemic happened, he had the right equipment and enough free time to begin. He lovingly scanned 5,000 of the negatives and brought his grandfather’s talent to the public. The unseen photos finally saw the light, and the result amazed him. “It was a project I wanted to do ever since I had scanned a few pieces of his work at uni, but after I graduated, I was more focused on starting a career and I didn’t have the funds to get a proper scanner. 5 years later, I was able to invest into a Epson V850 and lockdown was the perfect time to get through it all.”

#5

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Tiari
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ah yes. The one picture every cat-lover takes on vacation ;)

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#6

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Jack Sharp was a British engineer by trade at the CERN laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland. However, in his free time, he was a street photographer between 1950-1970. Scalet was told that his grandfather fully embraced everything he took an interest in. When he started photography, he researched a lot, understood the mechanics of the camera, how to catch the perfect lighting, and the science of the darkroom. “Jack was born in Harrold, UK in 1928 and then moved to Switzerland in 1955 at the age of 27 to join the famous research organisation CERN as an engineer. I never met my grandfather, but everything I know about him is the stories I hear from my mum or other relatives. Everyone loved him, he loved life and loved it to the fullest. He was clearly a clever guy and would always put his full heart into everything he did.”

When asked what kind of camera his grandfather used for his incredible street photos, he said: “He used an Agfa Super Silette Apotar 45mm f/1:3.5 and an Asahi Pentax K Auto-Takumar 55mm f/1.8.” As for the location of the photos, they were actually taken everywhere around Switzerland. Scalet says that after his grandfather’s migration to Switzerland, his whole family was born there. “Most of the photos would have been taken around the west of Switzerland like Geneva, Lausanne, and surrounding areas in France. Due to my grandfather’s migration to Switzerland, my whole family was born in Switzerland. I am very fortunate to have a Swiss, British, and Italian passport. I have a degree in photography, but only practice the craft as a hobby. I was really interested to learn about photography at a higher level because of my grandfather’s work and my dad pushed me to follow my passion.”

#10

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Cécile V.
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I know this place in Geneva near the Léman lake. Hasn't change at all. Still going there,

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#11

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Nicole Tomme
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Love the use of chiaroscuro. What an artist.

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#12

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Hans
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Impressive photo...and a reminder that this cruel act is still allowed.

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#14

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Fabrice
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This photograph is taken place du palais royal in paris. The building in the background is the Louvre Museum.

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#18

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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BrokenAngel
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love that you can see the photographer in the mirror!

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#19

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Kookamunga
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Jack Sharp was very talented. These photos are excellent.

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#26

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Norma
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Passing the torch...

#29

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

jacksharp_photo Report

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Is it just me or the "dame pipi" is the same woman in every European place and in every century? Maybe they cloned the original one multiple times?

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#30

This Man Scanned The Photos He Inherited From His Grandfather And Showed That He Had A Real Treasure Kept

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Sawdust
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Turns out that women didn't get the right to vote in Switzerland until twelve years later, in 1971.

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Note: this post originally had 90 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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