View Full Version : Fondness

14-Oct-2011, 12:02
In Chicago there are a few places that you can aim your camera and not get too many modern all glass skyscrapers in the view. The river is one of those areas. I was out with my Nikon DSLR scouting. The sky was crappy the lighting was too flat. But I was shooting away and then there was this (I'm being kind here) really old man in a too big suit standing next to me. He'd been watching me and saw what I was avoiding.
He said the only way i was to get a really nice shot was with a "view camera". He did not understand why photographers even used "snapshot cameras". I smiled, held my tongue and let him chat away. It seems he was an art agency copywrihter in the late 40s to the 70s. His accounts read like a whos who of Chicago Companies. The Photographers he wrote copy for were too. Hedrich Blessing was his favorite. He said "all those boys had the eye". I agreed. I asked him if he'd follow me to my car to show him something. He did hesitantly but with a big Chicago cop nearby we got to my car. I popped the trunk and pulled out my V8 Deardorff #500. (the first one with front swings and a Serial number) He looke at me, smiled and said he was glad photography had not gone away like he'd feared. I told him I just wanted a sunnier day.

14-Oct-2011, 12:09
That is cool. Refreshing to hear a good story about photography and the people who built it up before us. Thanks

Kirk Gittings
14-Oct-2011, 12:09
That makes for a great memory!

E. von Hoegh
14-Oct-2011, 12:21
That's nice.
These old-timers are a valuable resource, one that we lose more of every day.

14-Oct-2011, 12:22
I have #500 in the Deardorff 4x5 Special run. Mine wouldn't be the first one would it?

I worked in advertising from the 70's through 2000. Any chance you got this guy's name?


14-Oct-2011, 13:51
the 5x7 View and 4x5 Special started at 100. I introduced myself and he answered with Ed. He looked like an Ed. A real old Ed. Seriously he had to be around 90. He mentioned Torkel Korling being in Chicago in the 30s.

I have #500 in the Deardorff 4x5 Special run. Mine wouldn't be the first one would it?

I worked in advertising from the 70's through 2000. Any chance you got this guy's name?


Frank Petronio
14-Oct-2011, 14:00
Was he wearing a Safari Jacket?

John Kasaian
14-Oct-2011, 14:05
Thats a waaay 'dorffing cool story! :D

Robbie Bedell
14-Oct-2011, 20:14
I love this. I was a wet-behind-the-ears reporter/photographer in about 1975 when I happened to go to the house in Sewall's Point, Florida, for a story on a man named Norman Alley. He lived alone in the small house and we spent the afternoon together. As he smoked his cheap cigars he told me of his life which was one of the most amazing I have ever had told to me. He started there in Chicago in newspapers. He knew Ring Lardner and Al Capone and told endless stories of the newspapers there. He flew with Jimmy Doolittle, covered Pancho Villa in Mexico, and became a newsreel cameraman. He was a member of the 'Mile a minute club' at Indianapolis Speedway, the 'brickyard', and had all of the signitures of those who drove those races on each menus as the held their reunions. His great coup was the the filming of the sinking of the gunboat Panay in China. He was one of the last the get off when it sank. The great photographer Gordon Parks, after seeing the Panay newsreel in a movie theater, decided then and there that he would become a photographer. When Parks came to our local art museum years ago I gave him a copy of the portrait I took of Norman Alley. There is nothing like the inspiration one can get from the 'old timers.'

Robbie Bedell


Tracy Storer
14-Oct-2011, 20:26
There ARE still folks who understand and appreciate what we do with our V-8s. I had a meeting today with a SF tech company that has hired me to shoot portraits of their entire local staff in 8x10 BW. They get that the process affects the result and see a parallel in their work.

Nathan Potter
14-Oct-2011, 21:46
Great inspirational story Ken. I sort of have one also.

I was a little kid often on my grandfathers farm in Concord MA. He was running the "Poor Farm" off Walden St. where the Police station is now. One day I was fooling with a "postcard" format folder in the town square in front of my uncles store, Concord Clothing, when approached by a fellow with a LF camera; now I can't remember his name. He spent some very beneficial time helping me with my antique and ended up saying that he would take me to a meeting of the Boston Camera Club.

Some days later he stopped by the farm and set a date. This would have been in the early 1940's during WWII. He said there was a special presentation by an individual he thought highly of. While my memory is fuzzy I still retain a hazy image of the meeting place. Lots of B&W prints of a quality I could not comprehend.

The visitor turned out to be Edward Weston showing a small array of prints that, as I recall, baffled me somewhat at the time. I remember him examining my "postcard" camera and giving some nice words of encouragement. I think I remember him as very intense but possibly uncomfortable with some of the prints from BCC individuals. I came away enormously inspired and immediately started a hobby that has lasted, without interruption for almost 70 years. I can't say that Weston inspired me at the time but I think maybe some of his intensity of purpose rubbed off on me. And as a little kid, being very impressionable, off I went with my unwieldly folder, with dreams of images like I had seen.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.