Press Project by Sean Dana
My first job was as a delivery boy for The Vacaville Reporter, my town paper. Growing up, I scanned it daily to read the printed details of our sleepy community. Recognizing neighbors names, sports scores from my high school team, events of major importance and small significance – it solidified my sense of place. When I began photographing my hometown newspaper printing presses as an adult, I was overcome with that same feeling of belonging to something larger than myself. In the presses I saw machines saturated with the events of the community, serving as a marker of time and of my own history as well. Newspaper presses are the silent watchers of our communities – they archive the day-to-day narratives of our cities and towns. The dust collecting within them is the debris of our history. Each press is soaked with memories and the psychic energy of information.
By photographing these presses I am not just photographing smudges and patina, I am preserving the physical evidence of a once proud and powerful industry. In the time before the 24 hour news cycle, deadlines ruled the day and what you put in print had a permanence only erased by a retraction. The newspaper industry has been on a steady course of consolidation as readership and subscriptions dwindle in favor of receiving information digitally. The age of the printing press is by no means over, but sadly, as newspapers disappear, so does a unique component of our shared experience.
Sean Dana lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
To view more of Sean's work, please visit his website.