Among my themes in Tracking the Light has been; Anticipating Change and Acting on it.
It is easy to sit back in your easy chair and pontificate about the potential for change. Or go from day to day without ever thinking about the effects of change.
Yet, looking back at old photos, what so often catches our interest is how things have changed.
When I was a kid, I’d look back at my father’s photos, exposed 10-20 years earlier and marvel at the changes that had transpired. Amtrak had ended the age of privately operated passenger trains. Conrail and other mergers had swept away many of the classic railroads that appeared in those old images.
Having only lived a few years, it was my mistaken belief that all change was in the past.
Fast forward to 1999. My friend Mike Gardner dropped me in Boston. I was on my way to London and had several hours before my flight. Tim Doherty suggest I make some photos of the Green Line elevated near North Station, which was then due to be replaced.
At the time I thought, “Hmm, but I have plenty of photos of the old El.” True, but these images were already more than a decade out of date. Green Line had introduced a new livery, and most of my views featured PCCs and 1970s-era Boeing-Vertol LRVs.
I made the effort and exposed several color slides of Green Line cars squealing along the old elevated line. I’m glad I did; as predicted the El was removed and these views can never be repeated.
Look around you, anticipate change and make photographs. What you see today may soon be different. Sometimes change is easy to predict; other times it occurs with little warning.
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