Sunday, May 10, 2009

In his house in France my father had a large drawer full of eight by tens blown up from negatives exposed on a camera just like this. His was from the early thirties. His best friend had bought it for him in Hong Kong. He always said that it had cost twelve pounds. His friend was my god father, but I only met him twice as he lived in Thailand. My father took solid, reliable shots of people and buildings. I don't think he thought of himself as any kind of artist. He left that sort of thing to his youngest brother who wrote, sang, painted and acted. My father was scared of heights and could faint at the sight of blood, but, like many handsome men, he was a man's man, apparently completely at ease in any group of people. With his easy intelligence and big toothed smile, he charmed almost everyone. Once, when I was travelling with him, (and these long drives were some of the best times I ever had with him), he made an enormously complicated request of a hotel porter about how he wanted his morning tea to be prepared. The porter was thrilled to accommodate him and next morning the tea was perfect. He did not need to tip well, because his charm had already pleased far more than any remuneration could.

4 comments:

Patty said...

Nice story. I love the camera. I would give anything to be able to shoot assignments with a "real" camera. There is nothing like the feel of that cold steal in your hands.

In the old days, you could not pry my Nikon FE2s from my hands. Because of the digital world, I am forced to shoot with plastic Nikons (D200, 300, and 700).

In all my years of shooting in all kinds of weather, my cameras were dropped, dinged, and highly abused. They never broke. Only needed a little cleaning from time to time.

In two years, I have spent over 1,200 on my cameras and lenses. I even had glass separate from a lens. One lens broke when I dropped it, and the list goes on.

Thank you for visiting my site. I will "follow" this one. I see you have two other blogs. How do you do it? I can't keep up with one!

Oh, I love the series of b/w photos you did on an earlier post.

BTW: you should join us in our "My Town" Friday shoot outs. You can email for info or dig around the site.

marc aurel said...

Gee, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hello marc aurel, Lovely anecdote about time well spent with your father. While long trips spent in close quarters with one's parent can result in such memories as you have written, you have expounded on the memory in a very loving and literate way. If you wish to read an article on the cult of the Leica camera I highly recommend this New Yorker piece by Anthony Lane:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/09/24/070924fa_fact_lane

Your story about how your father's charm was redemption enough for anyone serving him reminds me of a funny story told in one of David Sedaris's books. During his lean and hungry years he took many low paying jobs including working on a moving truck in New York city. The owner of the truck went to do a job where the beautiful (but very flaky) young woman had not packed a thing, had no boxes for packing and in the end 'stiffed' the moving company for the fee and yet the owner was prepared to let it go. Whereas if he didn't like the 'look' of someone he was prepared to turn around at the door and leave the poor bugger hanging. Somewhere between the two extremes, we all hope to be served by those 'in service' in a friendly, but not overly familiar manner, respectful of our duties to be served (i.e. we are paying the piper) and to serve (in what key would you like that played?).

marc aurel said...

Thanks. I enjoyed the article. I will look up the Leica Historical Society of America. Perhaps I'll get the camera working again soon. There is nothing wrong with it, but I have to guess the exposure.