The Kodak Window in Kingsway - London 1971

In the swinging London of the 1960s and early 1970s the Window in Kodak House Kingsway London was 'The Place' for an exhibition. Kodak House was the specially designed HQ for the photo giant and is now a building listed as Grade ll of Historic Interest.

Following WWll Kodak was the major World player in photographic materials as Japanese and continental European producers were still to catch up. In late 1969 Tony and Marion Morrison were offered a 'Window Exhibition'.

The prized space was given following the extraordinary success of A Park in Peru a film Tony and Marion had made for the BBC Natural History Unit. As Tony recalls that began in 1967 with a wildlife filming expedition.



Tony Morrison recalls.....

' The story behind our Kodak Window began when we headed out to South America for the sixth time. We were to film and write a book for Anglia Survival, a prestige production of wildlife films and books made for British and American audiences.

Marion travelled out to Peru by sea with our small Land Rover [4 x4] and seventeen pieces of heavy luggage. It was a three week journey and in the 1960s was a traditional way to begin an expedition.

I took the camera and sound gear by air via Mexico where we had a small assignment.

Once back together in Peru we shared the work, with Marion often repairing punctures and changing wheels on the Land Rover in rough country where we had to use stones to chock the vehicle.

My task was to work on the film and Marion shot most of the stills such as this picture of vicuña, the Andean camelid which in 1967 was so severely reduced in numbers many experts believed it was on the verge of extinction. The vicuña's fine skin and wool were sold to luxury markets worldwide

Vicuña at Pampas Galeras 4200m. - the area is now a National Reserve . This print was made in 1969 by Robert 'Bob' Horner, one of London's finest silver halide printers who also produced work for the Victoria and Albert Museum [V&A].

Pampas Galeras Reserve is now officially known as the Pampas Galeras - Barbara D'Achille National Reserve named after Barbara D'Achille a conservationist and journalist who was murdered by the Sendero Luminoso, a guerrilla group in the 1980s.

Into the high Andes of Peru and Bolivia

We were often completely alone and camping sometimes in icy conditions. This was at Yauri huiri beside some small lagoons, the home of Andean flamingos and other rare birds.

We were at 4839m and luckily had good sleeping bags with double layers. Overnight the temperature fell well below Zero C.

We woke to a covering of light, very brittle snow and ice that crunched underfoot, and the edge of the nearest lagoon was solid. But undeterred the giant coots - unique to the high Andes were about early. We began filming soon after dawn.

For much of 1967 we drove thousands of kilometers in Peru, Chile and Bolivia searching for wildlife and the following year was spent in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

One of our special locations was the Laguna Colorada in southwest Bolivia. Now a Ramsar Wetland and visited by specialists and many tourists, the Laguna Colorada in 1967 was one of those places where we felt totally alone - well almost. The only visitor we encountered was a French bird collector who was there for the James' flamingo said to be the world's rarest.


The Laguna Colorada in the western Andes of Bolivia



The stunning lagoon coloured red by algae covers roughly 60 kms sq at an altitude of 4278m. Here our Landrover is on the Planicie de Panizo where the ground is frost broken lava and andesite from the ancient volcanoes of the western Andes. Here below I am dressed in some ex WWll kit when the afternoon wind from the west whipped up waves and salty spume. Marion is filming from rocks overlooking a brackish spring feeding the lagoon.




During the middle of 1967 we made several visits and even filmed the flamingoes walking on ice





Salty dust clouds happened daily in winter



The James's flamingo



Our Manú story

We were lucky. The years of our wildlife exploration of the high Andes coincided with those of Major Ian Grimwood who was on an official assignment with the Peruvian Government to pinpoint wildlife refuge areas in Peru. Ian Grimwood was a specialist with a track record of protecting wildife in Kenya and saving the Oryx in Arabia.

When in Lima, the Peruvian capital, we often met in 'Henry's' a coffee place close the British Embassy. We swapped notes lamenting frequently on the state of the nation's parks and scarcity of guards. I was on the look out for a film story in the Peruvian Amazon then on the brink of a 'great opening' with new roads especially the 'Marginal Highway' [Proyecto Carretera Maginal] being built along the Amazon fringe of the eastern Andes. Fernando Belaunde Terry, the Peruvian President envisaged opening up the Amazon lowlands which comprise almost four fifths of the country. The plan involved colonisation - agriculture - tapping the natural rescources and improving communications.

In Bolivia we received a letter from Ian which changed our schedule completely and looking back maybe it changed the course of our life


Ian Grimwood wrote



Today the Manú Park is recognised as one of the world's greatest hotspots for biodiversity and is a UNESCO World Heriage Site. The range of altitude is extraordinary, from over 4000m in the Andes mountains, down the eastern slope to seriously massive forest at about 200m. The Reserve holds thousand of species including 160 mammal species and reputely 1000 bird species. Ian had hit on a treasure - truly a Naturalist's El Dorado.

Ian put the idea of protection to the World Wildlife Fund and seed money came in to establish a guard-post in the lower river. At the same time the Peruvian Government gave the area 'Reserve Status' hoping to protect against loggers and trappers.

We put the idea to Chris Parsons,then Head of the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, UK and were given the go ahead to make an hour long film for BBC TWO, the BBC's newly introduced colour channel. [David Attenborough had just been appointed Controller.]


Our plan

We set up a base in Cusco the Peruvian mountain city, and once the centre of the Inca Empire. We found a room in an old house close to the Plaza de Armas, the principal square. Ian had given us an introduction to the Kalinowski family and we asked Hugo Echeguray an old friend from earlier expeditions to help arrrange the river journey- please remember all this was with heavy gear, no mobile 'phones - no 'phones anywhere in the forest -and we needed food for a month.


We used our Land Rover to descend the crude mountain road to the upper Madre de Dios river taking with us an 60 HP Johnson outboard, food, camping and medical supplies. Hugo arranged for three 44 gallon drums of fuel to be sent down the same road in a local truck.


We loaded at Shintuya - then a settlemnt of one palm thatched house on the Alto Madre de Dios River



The large canoe was hired from the Kalinowski family. Hugo on the right was i/c and the mouth of the Manú a tributary coming in from the left bank was about a day away beyond the distant Andean foothills.

Once in the Manú river we used the large canoe as far as the World Wildife Fund guard post where we knew we could borrow a small canoe which I could manage with help from the guards. We filmed the guards, the local Machiguenga people [now Ashaninka], and we camped alone on remote beaches. The wildlife was natural, undisturbed and superb. We ate fish from the river cooked over our fire and on Marion's birthday we opened a tin of peaches from Chile - a treat.

Did we have any close escapes? Some of the snakes could have been dangerous but we took care. The most memorable event was when Marion was stung by a swarm of small bees and we counted more than a hundred bumps.



We could not have wished for more though once we had the river story 'in the can' - it was 16mm film - we took our cameras into the mountains and deep gorges in the cloud forest to film the Cock of the RocK, a rare bird and for the male, so vividly coloured. Finding it was like looking for a 'needle in a haystack' - luckily I had seen one five years earlier in the forests of Vilcabamba beyond Machu Picchu. I knew the favoured altidude and the local names.



Filming 'Manú' took six months and we had one more assignment to complete in the Falkland Island [Islas Malvinas] before returning to London.

The Manú story was produced at the Natural History Unit in Bristol by the highly talented Suzanne Gibbs who gave it just the right touch to make it hit the Press as

A Park in Peru.



But that was not the end of the story


A Park in Peru was chosen for a showing at the World Wildlife Fund Second International Congress in London in November 1970 and we were asked to add a small exhibition of photographs. Kodak sponsored some of the colour work while the black and white prints were made by Robert Horner.

More international television transmissions followed and later in London we presented the story at charity events including one held at The Tower of London - one of London's Historic Royal Palaces.

And finally - the WWF Congress led to the Exhibition of photos in the Kodak Window......



Tech - We were using Nikon F [SLR] cameras with a range of Nikkor lenses. The exposure meter was a hand held Weston Master lll. The film stock was either Kodachrome 35mm processed by Kodak London or Kodak Ektachrome 35mm processed by Authenticolour, London .

David's picture of the window was shot on a British made Microflex TLR camera using black and white film. The colour was with a computer using scans from the origiinal Kodak prints.

The pictures in the bottom row of the window were in black and white made by Robert Horner and a map made by Kodak


Update - The Manú National Park is known throughout the scientific world as a 'gem of nature'. Parts are open to visitors with permits while for most areas the access is restricted to scientists. I filmed there in 1985 and in 1986 was taken by helicopter to the remote 'divide' known as the Isthmus of Fitzcarrald between the Manú flowing southwest and the Sepahua flowing southeast.

In 1986 I went to find one of the small groups of forest people who have minimal contact with the outside world. But in even more distant parts some tribes have never had contact and are in considerable danger from intruders - often gold panners and loggers. Road builders and land prospectors are more than on the fringes ready to take the once tribal land. The Interoceanic Highway built in the early 2000s to link the Pacific with the Atlantic is branching spur roads with dozens of settlements. All around is now endangered by changes to the laws that prevent oil /gas exploration. And we are not yet twenty years into the 2ist Century.

Both Ian Grimwood an Hugo Echegeray died some years ago

Tony Morrison 2018




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