LaPorte, Indiana

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For more than 25 years, Frank Pease was the primary portrait photographer in LaPorte, Indiana – a town of about 20,000 just south of Lake Michigan. Starting in the mid-1940’s, Pease took tens of thousands of black and white photos at his Muralcraft Studio: engagement photos, baby pictures, family portraits of the people of LaPorte. Pease kept thousands of uncollected proofs in boxes, and when he died in 1970, they were left to collect dust, until the new owner of the restaurant downstairs purchased the building. Jason Bitner, co-founder of Found Magazine, happened across the photos at B & J’s American Cafe; he compiled some of his favorites into a book, titled “LaPorte, Indiana.”

Long Haul spoke with Bitner, and tracked down some of the subjects of the photos. Together with musician Ted Quinn, who was born in LaPorte but left for California with his parents as a small child, they crafted this story about what’s become of the people in these almost-forgotten photos.