May 1, 2013

Wash Prom

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, I held various positions on the college’s yearbook staff. I was never officially a photographer, but I did take pictures for the yearbook from time to time. I recently ran into a print of the photo below. It was slightly creased and faded, but it is one of my favorite photos. I may have the negative, but, if I do, I don’t know where it is. I really appreciate being able to scan such a print and correct for the ravages of time (and perhaps also for my less-than-expert printing).

The photo was likely taken in 1967, but it might have been 1966 or even 1965. It was taken at the Washington Promenade (usually referred to as “Wash Prom”), the big social event at a school known for its lack of social events. The location was Ida Noyes Hall, which passed for a student center on campus at the time. Couples were on a stage for something or other, and I took the picture from the floor with my Yashica 35mm SLR. The film was our yearbook favorite, Kodak Tri-X. I probably pushed the developing a stop or two. The picture was taken with available light.

I have no idea who the people in the photo are. I’m sorry I didn’t find out. I love their expressions, however. (Click on the photo for a larger image.)


  1. Nice picture. Would be interesting to know how early in the 1960s it actually was. --The early 1960s were a time of idealism, belief that working hard in school would probably help you get a good job, etc.--an
    easy time to teach (as I did in 1960-61 in a wealthy suburb, and 1961-62 in a small town near a large city in another state. Not sure how long that feeling that hard work counted, that it was a pretty good world, at least in the US., lasted. 1963 was a tough year--the assassination of JFK (and the death of C.S. Lewis and the Rev. Dr. Sam Shoemaker, both people that I admired very much). I remember being afraid that things were going to fall apart. In 1968 (1969) they really did, with the assassinations of MLK and Bobby Kennedy. And I'm not even mentioning Vietnam. On the plus side, there were the gains in Civil Rights. --But despite LBJ's ground breaking civil rights achievements, there were the deals he made that really hurt the country (see Caro's bio, Master of the Senate).

  2. That is really an exceptional photo, Lionel. Thanks for sharing it!


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