Photographer Begins Road Trip to Capture Abandoned Drive-Ins

Lindsey Rickert is a photographer passionate about drive-in movie theaters. While she has fond memories of her first viewing at age seven or eight, a chance encounter in Oregon rekindled her interest in those venues right as their operations have continued to diminish. Currently, only 324 drive-ins are operational; a ghost of a movie-going experience that used to number in excess of 4,000 locations.

 

After encountering Oregon’s abandoned 99W drive-in, Rickert decided to plan a road trip. Her goal: to photograph as many drive-ins in the country as possible. Rickert’s portfolio for this adventure covered 28 different theaters, some of which are still operational.

 

Rickert began planning her route by combining Google and Flickr to find websites dedicated to drive-ins. She then laid out a massive map and started pushing thumbtacks into every point of interest until a route began to manifest. After marking the abandoned sites, Rickert planned out the best path to travel between abandoned and active sites-only one site was discovered demolished.

 

When asked about her favorite locales, Rickert was awestruck by an abandoned theater in Nevada, right as a heavy storm began to rage. After the weather cleared, Rickert was able to capture a beautiful sunset rainbow against the theater’s projection wall.

 

When asked about why some people are nostalgic for something that many have never experienced, Rickert likened drive-ins as a metaphor for the transition from analog to digital. Even if they are kept operational, drive-ins are mostly seen as relics of a previous era.