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Joan Liftin
Macon, Lafayette, Tennessee
color Cibachrome print on paper
Image: 12 3/8 × 18 3/8 inches (31.4 × 46.7 cm)Matted: 20 × 24 inches (50.8 × 61 cm)Framed: 20 × 24 inches (50.8 × 61 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Helen Levitt.
Accession Number
Joan Liftin worked on a series of the traditional American experience of the drive-in movie theatre for over 20 years, publishing them in a book titled Drive-Ins in 2004. Her photograph from 1994 shows a drive-in theatre in Tennessee during the harsh glare of the midday sun. Liftin’s burgundy-colored car captured in the right corner foreground of the photograph speaks to the car culture associated with the mostly suburban and rural nostalgia of the drive-in experience, which had its heyday in postwar America during the 1950s and 60s. The area surrounding the theatre is expansive and barren with small buildings and houses dotting the landscape.

Joan Liftin has a fruitful career as a photographer and photo editor. She directed the International Center of Photography’s Documentary and journalism education program for twelve years and was a staff photographer and photo editor for UNICEF.