As a commercial photographer Loyd Sandgren took on the full spectrum of paying jobs to survive including shooting weddings. There are over a dozen albums full of random and anonymous photos from wedding shoots spanning the late 1940′s through the 1960′s in the Loyd Sandgren Collection. These are only the prints that survived so there is no telling how many Jacksonville resident’s weddings he photographed over his career. This is work that I have not spent much time looking through but I recently sat down with a few of the volumes and was struck by how interesting they were as historical documents. These were events to be documented, before the days when everyone had a camera. Most of his shooting was done with a large format 4X5 camera which made each exposure of film a production. The subjects presented themselves as they wanted to be seen by the world and the photographer tried to show them in the most flattering light. As I flipped through the photographs I was struck by the range of moods, from serious to silly that he captured. There is such a variety of different environments where the photos were taken. Grand homes to simple church sanctuaries with a small handful of family and friends in attendance served as the backdrops for the brides, grooms and their family. The collection of images is a virtual wedding style collection spanning thirty years of fashion. It reminded me again why Loyd’s work has fascinated me since I first met him in the late 1990′s and why I value photographs as historical documents. Photographs capture a specific, ordinary moment in time that becomes extraordinary with the passage of time.
This pair of images really caught my attention. The bride and groom look like children, the family for the most part looks happy and proud with the exception of a couple of bored looking teens in the mix. There were no notes left with these images so I have know way of knowing the specifics but you could write a book based on the faces and interactions of the subjects in the photographs. I hope someone in the crowd recognizes themselves and will fill us in on the people in these photographs. Until then, we are left to our imaginations.