Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Robin & George


It was 1971 and I'd recently purchased an old varnished wood 5 X 7 view camera with a red leather bellows that was dried out and leaked light, and it had a broken front standard. I was able to order a new bellows for it. While waiting for the bellows to arrive I salvaged a bit of mahogany from a broken piece of furniture and got the front standard repaired. The wood wasn't exactly a perfect match but the camera was about seventy-five years old and I was happy to just get it working again. I already had a 203mm f/7.7 Kodak Ektar lens on my 4 X 5 view camera and it would cover 5 X 7 so I made another lensboard for it and I was in business. All I needed was a subject!
Robin was dating Richard who lived with his mom and two brothers a few houses away. The motorcycle belonged to Richard, his pride and joy, and he kept it just inside the front door, right there in the living room so we could all admire it as we came and went. I wanted to try out my "new" old camera, Richard wanted photos of his motorcycle, and Robin wanted some pictures of herself with George, her pet snake. George started out coiled around Robin's neck, but then slowly started slithering along her left arm. In this shot his head is extended just past her hand.
A couple of years later Richard and his family moved away, and I lost track of everybody except for one of his cousins. He lives just a few blocks away and a few times a year we run into one another. I guess Robin would be about sixty now, and George has long since gone to Snake Heaven.
I sold the lens when I sold the 4 X 5 camera about twenty years ago. I've since bought a lens from about 1920 for the 5 X 7 camera and I'm thinking about starting to use it again.

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