Author(s): Joseph Szabo
In Hometown, American photographer Joseph Szabo (born 1944) explores the same geographical site as his acclaimed series Teenage and Almost Grown with a slightly different focus: rather than photograph the adolescent population of Long Island, Szabo takes the opportunity to depict the area through its buildings and landscapes. Taken between the years of 1973 and 1980, Szabo's black-and-white photographs portray a number of scenes that will surely strike an emotional chord with anyone who grew up in the suburbs in mid-century America. In one image, a small house is lit up from the inside on a cloudy evening, sky featureless except for the branches of trees in the distance and the spoked TV antennae affixed to every roof; in another, a young boy steps off the sun-dappled curb to swing a baseball bat at its incoming target, his Chuck Taylors holding steadfast to the carless street. Semi-autobiographical of the photographer's own youth in spirit if not location, Szabo's photography deftly captures the sleepy lifestyle of the suburbs: quiet, safe and a little bit lonely. For fans of Szabo's other work, Hometown serves as a prequel to the photographer's later series, all characterized by their simultaneous nostalgia and timelessness.