“The only thing so far consistent with all of the changes in equipment and processes is that there still is a face behind the name at the bottom of the picture.”
When I was just a lad, now I am a lad plus a few, I used to kneel on the floor over a hot air register from the furnace and read the Bangor Daily News. I liked the comics certainly; Phantom, Steve Canyon, Dick Tracy, Buz Sawyer, all these I read eagerly. I also looked at all of the pictures on the pages, and the names under them. I read the names Carroll Hall, Jack Loftus, Spike Webb, Dan Mahar, and others before and since who left a mark on images of central Maine and especially Bangor and its satellite neighbors. There are few left from that era.
I have a small collection of the tools of their craft, nothing that would be mistaken for being valuable in a monetary sense. Antiques now, clever devices that seem nearly impossible to use with any amount of consistent quality. Yet 35 years ago, and more, these curiosities were standard issue to those people who had their names under the pictures.
I have an old Speed Graphic “4×5,” which was the tool of choice by most photojournalists from World War II into the early 1960s. Some of this century’s most lauded images were shot on one of these. Then came newer technologies, and the “4×5” was a dinosaur. The working grunts who carried them still had a job to do, the tools were just different.
Perhaps we’ve all made the change easily and life continues to maintain its forward momentum that will soon leave Y2K behind. There is little doubt that computers and electronics have laid their siliconized claim to maintaining the pulse of information. The computer is responsible for the page you now view and the images on it. My job uses tools that a few years ago were unthinkable in their application to the medium of photography. What do those photographers from 35 years ago think about what we now use?
I look over at the shelf where my old relics sit and think about my current equipment. The only thing so far consistent with all of the changes in equipment and processes is that there still is a face behind the name at the bottom of the picture.