Why These Photos I Took in 1996 Look Better In 2018
It’s amazing what time can do to ordinary photos
In June of 1996 I was between my sophomore & junior year taking a summer class in color photography at Columbia College in downtown Chicago and I was spending my free time working on my final project by driving all over the rural Midwest photographing mostly older farms & buildings. Considering everything you did then was on film and scanning to digital was rare, with images being judged on being perfect in color, subject matter, and composition I have very few of the over 100 rolls of 35mm film scanned in. So recently I’ve started going through those old rolls and scanning in basically every frame that was in focus and properly exposed, and what I’ve found has been nothing short of a treasure trove.
The funny thing about taking photos is you never know when a photo’s subject matter will take on a whole knew meaning in the future. Going back to the 1990s I’m reminded of Dirck Halstead’s photo of Monica Lewinsky hugging then President Bill Clinton at a fundraiser. This photo basically hit the editing room floor as well till the story of their affair broke and every photojournalist started digging through their old negatives. While these photos of Union Grove, Hinkley, and Morrison, Illinois aren’t going to be quite as historic, the fact that they captured people & places that have changed, or disappeared makes them much more interesting to look at despite the fact they were pretty plain photos when taken.
As a photographer I know that simple photos of a street, place, or people will eventually overtime become a more compelling image. The best part about taken these on film is you aren’t tempted to just delete them while they are new and something you can make again real easily. With digital photography I’ve found myself taking more photos like this knowing in 20 years their power will be more pronounced.