Self Portrait of Loyd Sandgren in one of his downtown Jacksonville, FL studios. 1950′s
I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after a downtown Jacksonville photo shoot. This elderly gentleman with a bushy white beard and red suspenders approached me and started asking me questions about my cameras. I politely answered him and continued loading my car. He then exclaimed “I’m a photographer too.” I smiled and thought to myself, “everyone’s a photographer”. He then asked if I wanted to look at some of his pictures and handed me a red spiral bound notebook full of photographs. Again, I smiled and took the notebook from him, opening it up fully expecting to see amateur photographs of sunsets and flowers.
After the first couple of pages of photographs my reaction was “Damn, this guy is a photographer!” The notebook was full of 8X10 black and white prints from 4×5 negatives of Jacksonville skyline views, product photographs, portraits and the like, all shot in the late 40’s and 50’s. Classic commercial photography from the era and most all of the work was shot in Jacksonville. At that point he had me. I peppered him with questions about his work and his background and got contact information to get back in touch with him. This led to the first of many long visits to his small apartment in Springfield which had shelves full of similar photo albums with titles like Downtown, Girls, Bodybuilders and Interesting that represented a virtual time capsule of Jacksonville life spanning the 1940’s through the mid 1970’s. This led to a friendship that lasted until his death in 2001, a week shy of his 85th birthday.
It was a real treat to have Loyd as a friend and a special honor to represent his collection of for his family. Loyd and I had many conversations about getting his work back into the public eye and an early story in The Florida Times-Union about Loyd and his life’s work started that process. It has been quite a few years in the making but I hope that this blog will be the next step in generating interest in his photography and keeping his memory alive for those who knew him as well as introduce him to a new audience seeing his work for the first time.
Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville