|Horst Wenzel and his prototype stereo camera and my Asahi Pentax S-3|
The price of getting to be an 80 year old man is that every-day-stability becomes a footprint on the sand of a beach.
My paragon of stability, my male cat Niño, has cancer and he is visibly becoming thin. I can perceive his eventual death. Most of my friends are all gone as is my wife and many of my relatives. Agatha Christie had it right in her novel “And Then There Were None”.
In last July I received a phone call on my landline. Horst Wenzel had died.
|Horst and cousing Helga, Zeven, Germany Aug 4 1944|
Horst Wenzel, besides repairing my cameras, an Italian switchblade and even a toilet, was a friend for many years. I visited him often with any excuse I could muster. He was a warm man with a quiet voice and an easy smile.
Few in this city, this country will ever understand how famous this man was in his profession. Of particular interest to me as I own three swivelling panoramic cameras, a Widelux, Horizont and a Noblex 175 is that these units had one bette noir. A rubberized plastic pulley deteriorated with time and as it would slip the cameras would produce nasty streaks. Since all three companies that made these cameras do not exist, Wenzel was the only person who could repair them worldwide! He had a wonderful inventive technique to repair them using a modified hockey puck.
A week before Wenzel died he repaired my Pentax S-3 which I purchased used in 1962 at Foto Rudiger, on Avenida Venustiano Carranza in Mexico City. The shutter button had fallen out. This involved the complex operation of removing the camera’s top.
Wenzel understood my goal of wanting to have all my cameras in working order. I had told him that when I had bought them they all worked and when I die they should all work even if they are thrown away. There is a pleasant symmetry that the 1939, German born Wenzel and this Argentine both understand.
And I would like to add here a standing rule that Wenzel had when he repaired a camera. It was almost as if he wanted to be a ghost. When he put a camera together he made sure that all the screws looked new. He often told me, "I don't want anybody to know I was inside that camera."