/20 Night

Rachel Loischild

Drive-In: An American Summer’s Night

Investigating and celebrating the American drive-in experience. It is the larger than life screen, the sensation of being surrounded by strangers and loved ones alike, and the simple visceral experience of spending time outside on a summer’s night. At the back of my mind are the memories of being a child and the delight that the drive-in brought me while laying on the hood of my parents’ car.

For the last four years my 4×5 camera and I have been found at the Mendon Twin Drive-In of central Massachusetts, which continues to delight crowds of motorists, cinephiles, and their children. The images show a community illuminated by movie light. The silhouetted glow of families, couples, and teenagers can all be seen in the length of a double feature. The inconsistency of the light combined with the non-static nature of children and adults over the course of a long exposure often yields serendipitous results. It is the ephemeral nature of the drive-in movie—seen through a historic but contemporary view of an American experience—which is illuminated here.