Ducktown, 1974

Ducktown, TN, 1974

Hold the edit!

A few posts earlier, I posted a comment by Garry Winogrand about saving your contact sheets for a year before looking at them. His reason was to separate the act of taking the photographs from the photographs themselves. This really makes a good bit of sense and I personally find that I have a hard time selecting images from a recently shot set, especially street photography.

Going back through an archive can often yield overlooked gems. The older the better? Street photos naturally aquire a patina with age...call it retro if you like. Naturally, because they depict a time gone by.

In 1974 after selling our photo studio, Valbuena and I went separate ways. I went north. That summer I packed most of my belongings into my 1967 red Volvo and like Lincoln Duncan, headed down the turnpike for New England. I took my time and as many backroads as I could find. There ain't much to photograph along the interstate! After heading north through western Georgia I found myself in the curious copper mining berg of Ducktown. It seemed to me then a strange place, perhaps because of the mining activities at the time.

A few weeks ago I came across this shot while looking through some boxes of contact sheets and negs for a specific photo. Somehow I had missed it 35 years ago. It had never been printed nor was the contact sheet marked for printing it. Today, I really like the image. The hat and the cigar make it, but he is also nicely joined to the lightpost by his shadow. I like the minimalist building which may be a post office, but I don't recall. The final bit of humor that appeals to me is the exiting man with his bowed head. What else does one do in Ducktown but "duck"?


posted by Greg Allikas, March 27, 2010

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