Monday, July 03, 2006

The Alpa Lady, Louise Dana

I met Paul and Louise Dana at Browne's Photo center, a popular hang-out for professionals and amateurs alike. Paul was a recently retired aircraft mechanic and louise did some freelance art directing but they were both avid photographers. She was perhaps twenty years younger than Paul, and they were childless. They awaited the birth of my daughter Elena as if she was their niece by blood. After her birth they visited frequently and had us over to their place just as often.

This was a time when there was a group of maybe 15 of us that got together weekly at one house or another to talk photography, eat pizza or homemade goodies, and look at one another's prints and slides. I had a pull down screen mounted on the living room wall and a Kodak Carousel projector always ready to go on a projector stand at the other end of the room. Covering the projector I had a rigid plastic cover made for a record turntable so it was easy to put the Dana's Leitz Pradovit projector on top. Yes, Leitz lenses are sharper than Kodak.

Here Louise is busy making hamburg patties with her "special blend of herbs and spices" while Paul was firing up the coals in the grill on the patio. This was shot with my Leica M4 and a 35/2 Summicron on High Speed Ektachrome. Louise loved shooting Kodachrome with her Alpa cameras, and had about every lens from the 24mm to the 180, a mix of Angenieux and Switar. She LOVED her Alpas! Paul had a 4x5 Sinar view camera with a bunch of lenses, a Leicaflex SL with several lenses, but his favorite was his Leica M5 with a 35 and 50mm f/1.4 Summiluxes and a 90mm f/2 Summicron. He had an M4 body too. One bedroom in their house had been converted into a darkroom.

After Browne (nobody ever did know his first name) died I stopped running into them because the store closed and we gradually lost touch.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.


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