I really love these photographs. No up or down about it.
I came across them when searching through public
photo archives for work I could use for the cover of my book, Long Time Ago Good—and from first glance I was wholly captivated. They’re the work of Marc St. Gil, who produced them for the Environmental Protection Agency as part of the Documerica Project.
Documerica hired 100 or so photographers to document the American environment of the mid-1970s. Over 15,000 photos were taken for the project, and every one I look at I find consistently amazing and astonishing and miraculous. I can—and have—lost hours staring into the computer screen, connecting with this past world, or trying to….
Though the project as a whole covered the entire US, I’ve concentrated on St. Gil’s Texas pictures. They really fit well with the stories in my book.
Who are these kids? What happened to them? There is an intense mystery here in these images that totally captures my heart…they're part of the great forgotten....
I don’t just love the photos—I love these people, too. I hope they’re all alive and well and happy….
In addition to the book cover, I used a series of these St. Gil photos to make a trailer for Long Time Ago Good:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this was the original shot for the book cover….
Which became this….
So here’s a little dystopian romance....
I walked up the parking lot to our car. I was trying hard not to feel trapped by everything, by life, but I did. I didn’t see how else I could feel. A cattle truck was parked across the road at a small gas station. A single steer in the back of the truck lowed over and over.
I said, “Tell me about it.”
Our car was fine, locked and safe. I looked at all of Gloria’s stuff filling the backseat. I looked at the cattle truck. There wasn’t anything to do but go back to the room.
For most of people, most of the time, options are obscured by emotions, and there really isn’t anything else to do but go back to the room to face whatever evil and unpleasant—or sometimes joyful and ecstatic!—fate is waiting.