In the neighborhood where I grew up there was once an iconic drive-in movie theater. My mother and father had gone there on many summer nights in their youth. The drive-in closed shortly before I was born, but the business maintained a small indoor theater. I hold fond memories of seeing movies there with my grandfather; the smell of buttered popcorn and the dust floating in the projector light.
Throughout my youth the abandoned structures of the drive-in towered in the neighborhood. Vines climbed the screen, the pavement cracked, and the speaker stands tipped. Eventually the indoor theater was closed as well and the property sat vacant.
In my teenage years the cinema structures were bulldozed to make way for new development. A gas station was built, then a hotel, and a shopping center. The landscape was dotted with tan plastic, large windows, and freshly laid sod. In a nod to what had been, the road that winds through was named Cinema Drive.
The photographs in this book explore the notion of permanence through the evolution of aesthetics and design. Though I am relatively young, with each passing year I see more of the objects, styles, and buildings of my childhood fall out of favor or into disrepair and be replaced by new. This visual changing of the guard fascinates me.
In these photos I am observing this change. I am collecting souvenirs; visual mementos of things I know will not last forever. I am documenting decay and cataloging the juxtaposition that happens in the process. It's the visual narrative of my life.
If we take this visual phenomenon and apply it to our lives it is easy to see the tangible changes as metaphor for our own existence. Is what we are doing actually an improvement? How long will the things we make stand? How long until we are forgotten? Perhaps all we can do is mourn the loss, evaluate the progress, and accept the reality. It is my goal to capture the beauty in between.
EXHIBITION: FEBRUARY 2019 AT THE SUSQUEHANNA ART MUSEUM, DESOTO FAMILY VAULT
Fickes, Michael. Cinema Drive. Blurb, 2017. Print. 8 x 10" hardbound.