Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's in an Icon?

My dad was a very busy doctor who loved cameras and everything photographic. Back in the mid fifties, he bought a rangefinder Leica to take with us on a family train trip to Chicago for the American Medical Assn meetings.

Believe me it was a big deal... People in our neighborhood were gossiping about the huge adventure of our leaving Salt Lake City on a train to travel across the country to Chicago. It took 2 nights and three days to get there.

When we got to the train station in Salt Lake City, my dad got out his new leica, and lined us all up for a photograph. He grabbed a luggage porter and asked him to take the picture. The porter, obviously had no idea what to do, so dad pre-focused the camera and showed the porter the button. Dad hurried back and didn't notice his tie was all askew. The porter took a single frame. No other pictures from that trip survive. And, as far as I know not many more pictures were made with that camera. But in 1/100th of a second an iconic image for my family was created.. .

My parents are long dead, and I inherited the camera... Whenever I hold it in my hands, I think of that day. The camera is over 50 years old and the best picture it ever took was on the first roll... taken by an anonymous stranger with no camera skills. Make pictures. . .. not just of your kids. . .. but with your kids. ..

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