Charles Swedlund greeted visitors who attended an exhibit of his photographs last Saturday afternoon in Cobden.

Snowy winter nights remembered

Images of Cobden taken during winter evenings in the mid-1970s were on display in an exhibit of photographs taken by Charles Swedlund last weekend.

The exhibit, titled “Cobden at Night,” was presented by the Union County Historical and Genealogy Society.

Twenty-one color photographs are featured in the exhibit, which is being displayed at the historical and genealogy society’s resource and cultural center at 103 N. Appleknocker (the former Cobden medical clinic).

The exhibit is scheduled to continue Aug. 11-12, Aug. 18-19 and Aug. 25-26. Hours are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Swedlund is a retired Southern Illinois University Carbondale professor.

The photographs were taken over the course of four or five winter evenings in 1974 or 1975.

The photographer shared the following information about “Cobden at Night”:

“This selection of color photographs is from a project I did documenting Cobden, Illinois, during a winter in which there was a large amount of snow.

“Usually, the snow leaves in a day or so but not that year. It was a unique winter.

“I photographed at night in order to show the contrast of warm interior colors of the houses to the cold colors of the snow being illuminated by the streetlights.

“The village was very quiet and yet it was early evening. I met no people and heard only the sound of my feet crunching the crisp snow. An occasional dog would bark.

“The images were made a number of years ago with color slide film and required ‘push’ processing to obtain the necessary exposure.

“At that time there were no practical means to make prints from color slides. Photo finishing prints were notoriously poor quality and professional prints were hundreds of dollars per image. As a result, the project was put in storage.

“However, the situation changed with digital photography. It is now possible to obtain beautiful quality prints from color slides.

“I have recently finished making color prints from these earlier exposed color slides.

“It was rewarding to relive the project and present it in a final form.

“I hope my photographs share with you the serenity I experienced while walking through the snow at night in Cobden.”


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