Welcome to Drive-Ins:  Capturing America's Past, a new photography project that will be taking me on a photographic tour across the country this summer to create new narratives for the forgotten drive-in theaters of our past.

Below are some test shots from a recent trip to Hilltop Drive-In located in Joliet, IL

I have fond memories of going to the drive-in theater in my home town of Des Moines, Iowa as a child.  Playing tag under the big screen, eating way to much popcorn, and falling asleep midway through the double feature in a pile of blankets in the backseat of our car.  I also have a distinct memory from that same time period of an abandoned screen nestled back into the tree line.  It took me years of thinking it was merely a badly placed billboard that never had any advertisements on it before I came to understand what it really was, a forgotten relic of another time.

The idea for this project came to me shortly after I assisted local Portland photographer (and my former mentor) Holly Andres on a shoot for NY Times magazine at 99W Drive-In located in Newberg, OR.  It was the first time in years I had been to the drive-in and all those feelings of nostalgia started flooding back, followed by a stab of sorrow as I realized that the drive-in for many people isn't the staple of growing up that it was for me.  Faced with increasing costs of converting to new digital projectors which cost upwards of $75,000, the few drive-ins that are still operating face the risk of going dark.

Shortly after returning to the drive-in, I embarked on a road trip back to Iowa for a wedding.  Along the way we passed an abandoned screen which sparked the memory of the abandoned screen from my childhood.  I called a friend to see if the screen was still hidden in the tree line in Iowa and she informed me it was.  Sadly, I didn't get to photograph it as we were packing in far to much in a short amount of time already but it dawned on me what I had to do and the beginning idea of Drive-Ins:  Capturing America's Past  was born.

A few months later, I was heading to Chicago to visit my best friend who had just moved there.  I started doing some research and found the Hilltop Drive-In located in Joliet, IL, a short 40 min drive from Chicago.  We rented a car, I traveled with a small portion of my photography gear, and we set out to find this abandoned treasure so I could experiment with a few ideas.  I didn't bring in models as I will be in my upcoming adventure, instead I tested out a few lighting ideas to help me better understand what will be possible and what I will need for my big adventure this summer.  What Hilltop Drive-In did for me was show me that maybe this crazy idea isn't as far fetched as I had thought.  It set the fire for me to really make this happen.

So here we are.  I am in the process of mapping out locations right now, working on sponsorships, and putting together a Kickstarter to help fund my project.  Traveling the country chasing a dream won't be cheap and won't be easy but most things worth doing aren't.  It is my hopes in the long run to have the resulting images become a coffee table book, but first things first, I have to get myself in the car and on the open road.  This blog will be a tracker of this project from beginning to end and I hope you will all join me for the ride!


Lindsey Rickert

Portland, OR, United States of America

I turned to photography at a young age as a way to manipulate the world in front of me into endless possibilities. It remained a hobby for several years until I decided to run away from the snow in Iowa and towards the rain in Portland, OR. While I was inspired by film makers and my surroundings, I had a tendency to pick apart single frames and freeze them. My memory wasn't a movie playing back in my head, it was a series of still images that created a narrative. This translates into my work through the use of lighting and props that build a scene and create a story. When I am not taking pictures, I spend my time roller skating, playing with my puppy Charlie Von Shitbird (he is very sophisticated), spending time with my snake Vans, embarking on capers with my girlfriends, messing around with special fx makeup, and exploring the great Pacific Northwest and all it has to offer. The best thing about my job is getting to meet a variety of people. No to shoots are the same and I thrive on getting to know my clients and collaborating with them to create truly unique and bold images that fit their needs. Whether it be wedding photography, family portraits, small business needs, or you simply want a kick ass original portrait. If you are looking for a creative experience that will not only boost your confidence but create a lasting memory then lets make it happen!