The camera he used was a refurbished Deardorff 8×10 (V8) view camera commonly used in the portrait studios in the 1930s-50s. It looked like something out of the 1860s, a square, boxish thing, complete with the black sheet the photographer hides under to take the picture. It had a pretty long exposure, so we had to stay perfectly still for two to three seconds.
When Victor finished he took us into the dark room to develop the picture, giving us the whole experience.
The best part was when he took a picture of the developed print using an iPhone and emailed it to us, turning the old school experience into a thoroughly modern one.
Wing Young Huie is an incredible photographer based in the Twin Cities who is always creating unique glimpses of life that upend your expectations. He’s well known for a couple of books that explore urban life, including Frogtown in St. Paul and Lake Street in Minneapolis.
He’s also released twovolumes of photos on University Avenue, an urban lifeline that connects St. Paul and Minneapolis. For about seven years we lived within minutes of this urban corridor and for a couple years I took the 16 route bus every day which follows University Avenue and is the most used bus route in the Twin Cities (and why lightrail is going in on University).
This University Avenue Project involved engaging people with questions and doing more than just documenting life. The project was also displayed along University Avenue, in some cases projected in giant format on the side of buildings.
MPR recently did a an Art Heroes Photo Gallery with Huie, collecting some amazing and engaging photos. Here are a couple of my favorites:
It’s cool seeing these glimpses of life in the Twin Cities, but more than just glimpses, they’re photos that push back. The photo subjects are given a voice, adding a new dimension to the standard photograph. It’s a great little collection. Love this town.
I’m kind of addicted to family pictures. I’m approaching 20,000 pictures in my Flickr account. 7,000 of those feature Lexi and 2,000 feature Milo. Those ridiculous numbers are thanks to the digital photography era, but my addiction goes beyond merely snapping new digital pics.
In 2007 I brought my scanner to Thanksgiving with the intention of scanning some of my Grandma’s historic family photos. In addition I raided my parents’ collection of family photos and scanned more than 500 images. A couple weeks ago I finally finished cropping, sorting and uploading them (in order to speed up the scanning process I just slapped as many photos as would fit on the scanner and scanned them, opting to go back later to crop them and label them—who knew that process would take two and a half years?). I haven’t even started going through my Grandma’s family pictures.
Why do I like family photos so much? I don’t know. I do know that I love seeing the same picture with many years in between:
Like the first and last day of school photos, taken in the front hall of our house, separated by only 13 years of education, dorkiness and new linoleum (but the same wallpaper):