Decades later, photographer publishes book of Minneapolis in the 1970s


You've changed, Minneapolis. But 40 or so years will do that to you.

The differences between the 1970s and now – both subtle and obvious – are in full view in a new book called "Downtown: Minneapolis in the 1970s," which is loaded with images taken by a then-budding young photographer on the city's streets during the "Me Decade."

Mike Evangelist and his time capsule-like photos are now the toast of the Mill City Museum, where a Thursday night release party will kick off a new exhibit of his work, according to the book's publisher, the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS).

The organization says Evangelist had "all but forgotten" about his photo collection – which features long-closed storefronts, fewer skyscrapers than there are now and, of course, bellbottoms – but recently began sharing them on the "Old Minneapolis" Facebook page and started to view them differently when they were met with an "enthusiastic" response from his fellow users.

And they're even popular for folks who weren't around in the 1970s.

In an excerpt of the book's text provided by MinnPost, writer Andy Sturdevant – who admits to having not lived through the decade – notes the "incredible out-of-time quality of the photos" and tries to sum up what's like looking at them from the perspective of a newcomer.

It's like looking at vintage photos of your mom and dad, he writes, adding: "Sure, they’re a little grayer and more wrinkled now, but you can still see it’s them in the brow line and the bone structure and in the eyes."

And to think it was all just an amateur photography project by a 17-year-old.

Evangelist told City Pages the 650 photos in his collection were "experimental," and that he didn't imagine anyone would ever see them.

Thanks to new technology, he told the publication, he was able to scan the images and give them new life.

The Mill City Museum release event will kick off at 6 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. Included in the evening's festivities are discussion from Evangelist and Sturdevant, a slideshow, a short film, and food and beverages.

The exhibit, MNHS says, will last through April 3, 2016.

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