Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Donna Ray Associates Poster

Going through all those boxes and file folders I keep running across things that had dropped out of my memory, yet suddenly it all comes back to me again when I look at the piece. This was shot in 1978 with "concept and design by The Winner's Circle" and "photography by Al Kaplan". I know that because it's printed on the bottom. The piece is about 17x22 inches so it could be folded into quarters and fit in a 9x12 inch envelope

Donna Ray Associates was a company that arranged about everything you could conceive of for your company's or organization's convention. From catering to musicians, transportation, enterainment for children, secretarial and translation services, copy machines, if you could think of it Donna would supply it.

I shot it in Sam King's studio. Sam was a rarity in 1978, a black photographer with a huge studio and some giant Norman electronic flash units. He used to shoot a lot of church groups, choirs, and such, so he needed both the room and the power to light it. On occasions when I had a large group to photograph I'd rent his studio for a few hours. I sure needed it for this shot, and actually he's the one that "pushed the button" because I ended up in the photograph. After we'd arranged everybody and shot a bunch of Polaroid test shots with the Hasselblad, Donna decided that we should include a photographer in the photograph. The times weren't yet ripe for showing a black photographer. I got into the picture and Sam climbed the ladder. Towards the back near the right side you can see the top of my head as I was looking down into the finder of Sam's huge Mamiya RB67 SLR. My daughter Elena, about seven at the time, is at the lower left licking a lollipop.

I did pick up a few jobs through Donna's organization over the next year or two, and I stayed in touch wth Sam for a number of years, but nothing lasts forever. When Browne's Photo Center closed I lost touch wth a lot of people I used to run into a few times a week. Sam was one of them.


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