Thomas Locke Hobbs - Dinuba Sentinel Portraits

In January of 2010 I traveled to Dinuba, a small town in California's Central Valley where my mother grew up. My aunt & uncle were the owners of the town's newspaper, The Dinuba Sentinel, having inherited it from my grandparents who, in turn, had inherited it from my great grandparents. Both 80 years old, they were looking to sell the paper and retire. I wanted to document a bit of my family's history, before it disappeared.

Once there I discovered that they still used a large process camera, purchased by my Grandfather in 1962, to make the lithographic offset plates used in printing the newspaper. Intrigued by this monster camera, I decided to use it to make portraits of the newspaper's staff. My uncle gave me permission to use the camera provided that 1) I didn't break it and 2) nobody got hurt. The resulting contact prints measure 12"x20", which is about the size of the newspaper's pages. Because the camera was set-up to do 1-to-1 reproductions, the portraits are exactly life size.

The photos presented here are of the newspapers' staff as of February 2010, beginning with my aunt and uncle and with the following ordered by tenure.

The paper was sold in June of 2010 and the process camera is no longer in use.

Using such a large camera presented some interesting technical challenges. I wrote about the process on my blog.

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