Camping with the Barstows (1957-61)

barstows lo res

Robbins and Meg Barstow and their three children were a normal Connecticut family who lived the post-war Eisenhower consumer goods-supported American dream. Amongst Robbins’ most prized possessions were a range of 8mm and 16mm home–movie cameras. How Robbins would tut-tut if he saw today’s profligate Go-Pro antics. Not for the Barstows the world of point and shoot, regardless of banality. No, Robbins Barstow was a proper amateur film-maker. Precise, economical, disciplined and above all else, imaginative. Shooting silent, he told his stories brilliantly through pictures alone, and what stories they were. This offering (chosen from literally hundreds of films in the Robbins archive) was filmed over FIVE consecutive summers from 1957 to 1961. It takes this long for the Robbins family (plus station wagon) to road-trip their way around every single state in the Lower Forty-Eight. This is 1950s America and the cog-whirring genius of the inspired amateur showcased to utter perfection. Roll up and enjoy!

Colour 8mm, 19 mins