Ducktown, 1974

March 27, 2010

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”?

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