Capturing a Bygone Era of Front Yard Bonding

Photography has changed dramatically over the years. In the 1970s through 1990s, people spent more time casually socializing outside with friends, family, and neighbors. Photographer Sage Sohier captured images of these front yard gatherings during that era. Her new photo book, Passing Time, offers a glimpse into a tighter sense of community that has diminished in recent decades.

Coming to you from Framelines, this insightful interview explores how Sohier photographs preserve a cultural shift before technology and urbanization led people indoors. Sohier explains that she aims to create technically complex images showing her subjects interacting within their environments. The wide angle lens and flash highlight both the depth of field and authenticity of these neighborhood scenes.

Looking at these nostalgic images, you can feel the simplicity and connection often fading from society today. People now spend much more time isolated inside and distracted by devices. Sohier’s photography provides perspective on the value of passing time together. Her book serves as an antidote to modern busyness and virtual hangouts.

Sohier also discusses how self-consciousness has seeped into photography over the years. In the 1970s and 80s, she could candidly approach people and they would casually carry on once she started shooting. These days, subjects want to know where the photos will be posted and often strike unnatural poses. While you can still find glimpses of people relaxing in public spaces, privacy concerns and digital exposure have changed the dynamic. Check out the video above for the full interview.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Being of the Baby Boomer generation, our corner of the subdivision in the 50s was the gathering place for us kids. We were limited during school with evenings before DST and weekends. Summer was a blast! Early morning to almost dark was constant activity; biking, baseball, swimming at the public pool, etc. Brings back lots of memories.

when I was growing up, we actually socialized in our street and a couple of adjacent street by sitting on front yard brick walls and chatting and planning the next (mostly) sports activity or a soccer match against a neighboring street. However, this all happened way back in the 50's and 60's. Suffice it to say that we were never indoors.