What have you photographed that has since changed dramatically, or isn’t even there anymore?
I’ve been walking or driving around with my camera for long enough now that I’m starting to build quite a collection of photos of scenes that look very different today.
The Elbow Room pub was nearly an Indianapolis institution, having been in operation since 1933 — right at the end of Prohibition. It abruptly closed for good a couple weeks ago.
These neon signs came down immediately.
This was one of my favorite downtown pubs. I first visited it when I still lived in Terre Haute and had business in Indy. When I worked downtown in the late 1990s I used to walk over here for lunch all the time. After my brother moved here, this was the first bar we visited together. In the past couple years, Margaret and I have stopped here several times, usually at the end of a downtown photo walk. She really liked a lemony martini they made. I have always loved their cheeseburgers.
The Elbow Room occupied the ground floor of a wedge-shaped building at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and Ft. Wayne St. on the north edge of downtown. I’ve sat at a table in that window many times, most recently just a few months ago.
An unexpected benefit of buying and testing film cameras over the years is that I walk and drive around with them and photograph stuff. I’m not necessarily trying to make art, but am rather just capturing anything I find interesting in the moment to see how the camera works and what quality of images it can make.
I made these shots with a Nikon F3HP and 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor on Fomapan 200, and a Minolta Maxxum 7000 and 50mm f/1.7 Maxxum AF on Fujicolor 200. They’re not great art; heck, that first color shot turned out pretty underexposed and muddy thanks to a fault in the camera.
But I have them. The Elbow Room’s existence is proved, though evidence is starting to be erased. Soon this will be some other business and anyone who moved here since might never even know about The Elbow Room.
In 2008, I took hundreds of photos as I surveyed the entire Michigan Road. In 2018, I hope to survey it again, end to end. I wonder what photographs I’ll take of things that have changed. Maybe I’ll do a series of then-and-now photos!
What photos lurk in your archive of scenes that are all different now?