Ted Turton Has An Idea - In BurnabyWednesday, January 24, 2007
In May 1985 Equity Magazine editor Harvey Southam looked at me and smiled. He then said, "Alex get your gear we are going to visit Turton in Burnaby. I quickly found out the reason for his smile as soon as we entered the cavernous wearhouse building. It was a world I had never seen or supected that it would exist in our very own Burnaby. It was light bulb factory. Ted Turton was a Vancouver businessman who often appeared in the pages of the Vancouver Sun during the years that the Vancouver Stock Exchange was in existence. How could it be that a man used to making money by transfering numbers on papers from here to there, was suddenly manufacturing hard goods? Perhaps I was too stupid or I was simply not curious to ask Southam, nor alas, did I ever read the article my photographs, seen here, illustrated. I could cite the circumstances that were the direct result of the photograph with Turton and his two principals in my photograph.
The Mamiya RB-67 Pro-S was on a very high Hi-Boy tripod which had always been notorious for its instability. I came crashing down and my camera and its parts went in every direction on the very hard concrete floor. I was able to put it together again to take this picture. Having to get expensive "body work" on my camera the next day is my only excuse for not asking more info from Southam on Turton. Whenever I mentioned the name, he would only smile with that infectuous smile I remember he had.
Since this was the pre Photoshop era, my light bulb trick used before here consisted in soldering a wire to the bulb and then dipping it into Varathane varnish so my subject could hold it without getting electrocuted. But to give the effect of levitating the bulb I had soldered a blackcoat hanger wire on the bottom part of the bulb. I had previously used this trick to have BC Lions's players levitate footballs.
I look back at this picture with the nostalgia of thinking that perhaps businessmen were more interesting and quirky then. I also despair in the knowledge that in Vancouver we manufacture next to nothing, any kind of stuff that occupies physical space.