Bill Yates: The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink

Bill Yates The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink

There really is nothing more heart warming than a story of great photography unearthed from the depths of time. Please take a moment to marvel at these examples by Bill Yates, taken forty years ago, then left to languish in boxes until just a few years ago.

Long story short, Yates first picked up a box brownie camera at the age of ten, then after a stint in the Navy went on to do a BA in Art and Photography at the University of South Florida. He stumbled upon the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink by chance, striking up a conversation with the owner outside, who agreed to let him come by with his camera when the joint was full of kids. He then spent seven months visiting on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, creating a body of some 900 images.

What he captured is an unselfconscious confidence of 70s teens in an era when having a camera in your face 24/7 was so not the norm. They seem unfazed by his presence. I imagine after seven months, he was either just part of the scenery or had worked to gain their trust (or both, a la that other youth documenter, Joseph Szabo).
Bill Yates The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink
Bill Yates The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink
Bill Yates The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink
The styling is wonderful, and you know how I feel about a roller skating scenario. This was the early 70s, a time of relative innocence in sleepy Tampa Bay, Florida, which hadn’t yet succumbed to the commerciality of Disney World. As Yates told the British Journal of Photography, “Now the orange groves have turned into plastic motels and hotels. Back then nobody had cellphones or cameras, there was no cable TV. They were just into themselves and each other.”
Bill Yates The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink
Bill Yates The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink

Read more about The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink series here and check out the accompanying book here.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: © Bill Yates
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

The New Garconne contributor: Elise Toïdé

The New Garconne photographer Else Toide

Fashion Month is upon us and one of my favourite elements is all the backstage photography. So much more atmospheric than the front-on catwalk shots we’re used to, no? Elise Toïdé is one of the photographers who excels in this reportage style. (And she took the photos for the Paris-based women in my book.) Elise is great at capturing a sense of intimacy, even in chaotic surroundings. (more…)

Dior SS17 ad campaign – hair goals

Dior SS17 ad campaign

Gotta love this ethereal-with-attitude Dior ss17 ad campaign featuring twins Ruth and May Bell shot by Brigitte Lacombe. Although as good as the clothes and photography are, I mainly have eyes for Ruth Bell’s fluffy elfin crop… (more…)

On my book shelf

Grace - The American Vogue Years

I seem to buy more books and clothes these days. Not that I have anywhere to put them but they offer the perfect respite to the Mac or phone screen. Admittedly I’m more of a reference book girl than a novel-reader, I just don’t have the attention span for fiction and I always seem to be researching something. (more…)