Going through a day-to-day routine, most of us don’t typically ponder the history of our own surroundings. And if we do, it can be hard to visualize what various elements of a city would have looked like during a time outside of our own existence. With photography, we get a little closer to achieving this feat. Seeing just one old image of a structure that still remains from the past can unlock a new understanding of a moment in time that would have otherwise been lost. When you consider what over 14,000 photos of a city spanning decades would reveal, history begins to unravel like twine.
This was the legacy of Loyd Sandgren.
Mr. Sandgren was a freelance commercial photographer in Jacksonville from the 1940s through the 1990s. After his death in 2001, the Jacksonville Public Library acquired over 14,000 prints, and thousands of negatives from his family. This extensive collection contains photos predominately taken from the ‘40s to the ‘70s, and captures a vast array of topics including buildings, boats, people, cars, commercial products, homes, businesses– anything at all, really. These photos immortalize the history of Jacksonville, nuances and all.
Bob Self, a Florida Times-Union photographer, stumbled into Mr. Sandgren in 1997. You can read the full story of their first encounter here, but Bob Self recognized the rarity and importance of Mr. Sandgren’s photo collection immediately and utilized his resources to preserve it. Bob Self is now the representative of the Loyd Sandgren Photo Collection. Digitization of the prints was undertaken by Jacksonville Public Library to make some of the collection available for viewing online. If you wish to license work from Loyd Sandgren, contact Bob Self at email@example.com.