One of the important aspects of digitising the thousands of pictures held in The Morrab Library Photographic Archive is the scanning of the original print or negative. We carefully check the scan has captured all the detail within the image, at a high enough resolution that it can then be reproduced as a print .

It is at this point we often discover interesting details which aren’t always spotted with the naked eye.

The photograph below is of the French Schooner ‘Marie Celine’, which ran aground in Gerrans Bay on the south coast of the Roseland Peninsular, in January 1901. It’s an iconic and dramatic image, with the elegant masts clearly defined against the sky and the receding, rugged headland.


However, once you look a little closer other details appear… In the centre in front of the boat is a man, standing tall and looking into the camera. To the left of him is a blurred figure, possibly a child running over the rocks, and to the left of them beneath the large anchor chain is a small figure.

It made me laugh out loud when I first saw this childs cheeky face beneath his cap, peering over what appears to be something like a small cabin door. Immediately I assumed he’d plundered the ship and this was his treasure he was holding up as a trophy! Who knows if this in fact was the case but I hope that it was.