In was in 1958 that I bought my first SLR camera, a Pentacon-F while at St. Edward’s High School in Austin, Texas.
It seems to me that 65 years later, if I am not a good photographer, I should have quit and become a plumber.
In a phone conversation with my Burnaby daughter Hilary today I told her that I feel that I will die unrecognized for my extensive body of work (I sort of hate the term).
Some years ago I failed to get access to photograph Christopher Plummer when he came to Vancouver and it was then that I decided that it was more fun to photograph people who were not celebrities and just plain ordinary (without wanting to be deprecative ).
I believe that if I lit my files with a match and only safeguarded my family portraits, that would be enough to confirm my belief that my portraits of my daughters, wife and two granddaughters are (and I want to stress the use of this word) remarkable.
They are remarkable because, since I am not a plumber but was a portrait photographer for many magazines for many years, I know a remarkable portrait when I see one.
As evidence I have here a scan of a framed photograph of Rebecca which I took in 2012. I printed the b+w negative on Kodak lith film (Kodalith) and developed it as if it were a continuous tone b+w photographic print. I then put it on top of silver card. In a gallery situation with overhead lights the effect is of a 19th century Daguerreotype. That effect is lost when the frame is placed on the scanner bed.
But that does not take away from my belief that this is more
than a snapshot, more than a portrait. It is a glimpse into the soul (life
spark) of my Rebecca. I have many more like these. Perhaps it is not because of any skill I may have but the fact that this woman (she is now 25) has a face to launch ships galore to their perdition.
If I were living in Toronto or New York, and not in this backwater provincial city that thinks it is a world class one, Rebecca would have her future assured and I would have more than a park bench with my name on it as legacy.