Kat Swansey | THEN & NOW

THEN & NOW

I've been fascinated by old photographs for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would dig through my grandparent's old photo albums and record collection, daydreaming of things that existed before me. I've always felt a strong sense of nostalgia for 'old' things which has become the cornerstone of my adult life and is a large reason why I'm so glued to film photography. 

I spent a lot of 2017 scouring through old photographs of my grandparents, looking for a specific set of photos that I hadn't seen in years: their family trips to West Texas. While I've been to many of the same places as they have, these photos were the only documentation of us enjoying those same places with decades between us. 

My Papa's aunt and uncle owned a bakery in Marfa, Texas in the 1940s and 50s. Through the help of a friend who grew up in the area (who received help from his friends), I was able to track down its location. Soon after, my Papa asked for a trip to West Texas. 

While planning for our trip, I couldn't stop thinking about all of his old photos. Him standing outside the Jersey Lilly in Langtry as a 15 year old. My mother standing in the same spot as a kid in the '70s. The photo of myself from last year. The world moves so fast, but somehow most of West Texas feels like it stands still. How much had things really changed? With my grandparent's old photos in hand, I knew I needed to recapture the same spots as much as I could. 


PART 1:  1956


My grandfather, 15 years old, in Langtry, Texas. August 1956.


My grandfather, 77 years old, again in Langtry, holding the photo of him in standing in the same spot featured above. April 2018. 

 


PART 2:  THE 70S

Please click on the photos to enlarge.


A side profile of the Jersey Lilly Saloon. 


The old post office. 


Unfortunately the Vinegarroon Saloon is now just a pile of wood, so we had to improvise. Amazingly enough, my grandparents coincidentally wore similar clothing. My Meamaw is in a blue top with white pants, my Papa has mustard yellow on his shirt with blue jeans.


Judge Roy Bean's Opera House, which was never really an opera house. Judge Bean was infatuated with Lilly Langtry, and though this was his one room home, he called it an opera house so he'd be ready if Lilly Langtry ever decided to visit Langtry. 


My mom, pictured left, was not able to make the trip. We improvised by putting my grandparents in the same spot. 


The scenic overlook in Iraan, Texas.


To see all of the original photos from my grandparent's trip to West Texas, including photos we weren't able to recreate, click here

To see more of my photos from West Texas, click here.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to shoot me a line: kat@katswansey.com.SaveSaveSaveSave

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