The subjects in Jennifer Greenburg’s photos not only dress like it’s the 1950s, they also drive cars and decorate their houses as if Eisenhower were still in office. They’re part of the Rockabilly community, which Greenburg has spent more than a decade photographing.
“There are people out there who very legitimately want to imitate the 1950s,” she says. “They move to the suburbs, have the two kids and live a behind a white picket fence.”
Rockabilly principally refers to a genre of music popular in the 1950s that mashes rock ‘n roll with several other types of music including country and rhythm and blues. Some of the most famous Rockabilly stars include Elvis and Carl Perkins. Nowadays, Rockabilly is considered a subculture made up of people who surround themselves with items from that time period.
Greenburg, who is an assistant professor of photography at Indiana University Northwest, says she has collected vintage clothing but never knew people took recreating the 1950s lifestyle to such lengths before she started the project. Initially she was a bit taken aback, but she soon got to know members of the community and came to understand the Rockabillies like any other subculture.
“I think that everybody feels the need to belong to something,” she says. “[The Rockabilly community] has an outward appearance that people sometimes wrestle with, but it’s not any more out there than a lot of other communities people belong to. Take marathon running, just as an example. I could never imagine that being part of my culture.”- WIRED Magazine