West View, Pennsylvania

The Stones played here.

No, really, they did. The Rolling Stones in West View, Pennsylvania. June of 1964, at the Danceland, one of eleven concerts on their first US tour. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, both 21 years old, if you can imagine it.

I know this fact because of this photograph. Jesse Katrencik has been documenting small moments in small towns in western Pennsylvania for years. It’s not a sexy form of photography, but it’s important. This is the sort of work scholars and academics rely on. This sort of work is foundational.

I’ve huge respect for Jesse and his work. I often find it heartbreakingly beautiful. Not because it’s flashy or immediately compelling, but because it’s so simple and real. You look at this photo and you get some minimal sense of the lives lived here. Quiet lives, for the most part. Family-oriented, paying the bills, waking early, working hard, mowing lawns and shoveling snow, cooking for the family on weekends and holidays, having a beer and rooting for the Steelers on Sunday afternoons. Telling your grandkids the Stones played here on a summer evening 56 years ago, and you screamed and danced, and the grandkids laugh and can’t really imagine it.

The Danceland burned to the ground nine years later. It was never rebuilt.

That’s life. Isn’t it beautiful?

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by utata.org. All photographs used on utata.org are stored on flickr.com and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, greg fallis and is used with permission by utata.org. Please see Show and Share Your Work