Reading/Looking: “Down at the Sweetheart Rink” and the Photography of Bill Yates

“I had just purchased a medium-format, twin-lens camera, and, as usual, I was out riding around looking for something to shoot,” [Bill Yates] says. Sweetheart Roller Skating caught his eye. The Sweetheart was in a distinctly rural area of Hillsborough County called Six Mile Creek, beyond the Palm River east of downtown Tampa. Old Florida was still Old Florida then. Disney World had opened only a year earlier and had barely begun its transformation of Central Florida.

“The owner was just driving up,” he recalls. “‘Mind if I shoot some pics?’ I asked. He said, ‘Sure, but if you want some good ones, come back tonight — this place will be jumpin’.’” He took his Mamiya C330, a Honeywell Strobonar flash, and eight rolls of Tri-X 220 black-and-white film. He shot every roll.”

Chuck Reece writing in the bitter southerner on the upcoming Bill Yates exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

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