When I was eight years old, was taken to a camera store by a friend, a featured Pentax 645 seemed like this awesome super-monster robot of a camera. And recently, by random happenstance, when a good deal with 4 lenses came up—without hesitation, took a 250 mile road trip to obtain, rekindling my childhood fascination
I am a large and medium analog photography hobbyist, working in the museum fields. I help out and work with many individuals, organizations and Local and National Historical Societies, per the digitization of whole archives. I deal with everything from cracked Dry Glass Plates to not-in-the-best-condition historical negatives and prints. While doing massive digitization, I developed a further side hobby of finding discarded, half destroyed, and general found historical photos. My goal is to research the stories, and track down surviving family members and give them back. This can be a challenge, and sometimes the venture can be a lost cause, but I have also have been successful many times.
In scanning, WPA (Works Progress Administration) medium-format acetate negatives and dry-plates, I got the idea to start my own small-scale version of Russell Lee and John Vachon, covering Central Illinois, traveling to 600 some small towns just taking shots of whatever is there. Ideally, I would like to shoot all on 8×10 Dry Plates, but that would be insanely cost-prohibitive. The nature of some of the shots requires fast setup and fast takes, the 645 being perfect here, it’s metering and ease-of-use is seemingly always spot on, and the extra shots per roll, is a plus.
The 5 frames
During its first life span of 118 years on the Delavan Prairie in Tazewell County, Illinois, the barn of Christian Sutter housed countless heads of livestock, hosted many national Amish Mennonite Diener Versammlungens (ministers’ conferences), and numerous Amish Mennonite worship services. During its second incarnation, the barn has hosted a national Amish Mennonite historical conference, a dedicatory worship service, and countless agricultural artifacts to be preserved, pondered, and appreciated.
Christian and Magdalena Schertz began married life in 1867 in a farm house in Woodford County, Illinois where two sons were born to them. John died as a two-year-old toddler. The eldest, David, grew to manhood, married, and raised his family on the farmstead. When David’s growing family of seven children occupied most of the original farm house, he added two rooms for his parents. The Grandfather House, either attached or next to the family home, was a common answer to housing and health needs in extended families and remains prevalent in today’s Old Order Amish communities.
Third Logan County Courthouse, Lincoln, Illinois (then named Postville, IL), constructed 1903-1905. The two courthouses that formerly occupied this site were familiar to Abraham Lincoln, he practiced law and sometimes substituted for Judge David Davis.
Guzzardos Italian Villa, Alleyway Entrance, Lincoln, Illinois
Central Illinois Feed Supply, Emden, IL
Digitization Projects, sample recent projects, by no means comprehensive, but a view of the scope and types of projects worked on: https://digitalhistory.tech/projects/
I shall be back soon to share some found photos.