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Life Changes

Cameras Take First Place

It was 1974, a time of changes. My father had passed away much too young at 59 in 1971, I divorced, and the director of marketing at Bose asked me if I wanted to move from engineering to marketing as a product manager. I loved (and still do) engineering but it was a lonely occupation so I accepted the offer. Then, within a few days, the director of advertising was let go and suddenly I was manager of advertising and not long after I was manager of marking for home audio.

Advertising (and later audio/visual) brought the visual arts and design into my life and a host of challenges. What to do?

I was fortunate to find an experienced advertising person and finding our personalities a good match I hired him and apprecented myself to him. Suddenly I was creating visual materal and working with the top advertising photographers in Boston, and learning what could be done with large format view cameras. But that was not all, and I can no longer remember in which order things happened.

1. I tried to use a high-end lab with 35mm originals. No go.

2. I borrowed a 4" x 5" press camera from Bose and photographed some flowers. One of my advertising photographers developed and printed the tests. Yes! Clarity and intense color even in a contact print.

3. A small exhibit of dye transfer prints at South Station in Boston. Could a photograph really look like that?

4. A visit to the Carl Siembab Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston. Even more amazing dye transfer prints and the decades of photographing seemed to coalese and told me this was something I wanted to do and then a weight was liftd from my shoulders.

My father had desperately wanted me to earn a PhD at MIT, but it wasn’t in the cards. I had been there for seven years without a break, and 2 or 3 or more years for a disertation? An epiphany. This was not going to happen and so I accepted Prof. Bose’s offer to work for his tiny company. That was 1967 but it was not until 1974 that all the pieces fell into place and I said to my Bose friend Stan Hendricks: “Let’s go to New York. I want to buy a view cameera.” We did. I bought a lens but no camera. That would take further study.

Cameras. And All Else Neccessary

An Engineer Chooses Equipment

It really is helpful to have been an engineer since childhood. My father’s talents and my own interests set the stage. Analysis. What did I really need and what should I avoid. The answer was a camera found mostly in photography classrooms. Durable, capable, simple and cheap. Light, long monorail, durable, rotating back and a case fit for hiking with a little adapting and fitting out. And a pack frame. Easy to flip onto my back and two hands free. Weight shifting to whatever was the most comfortable position. Tripod carried or strapped to the side. The only question was what to shoot, and where and how to shoot it. I didn’t have a clue.

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It ain’t pretty, but I am a bit proud of the wear and tear.

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