“When you get to the moon, find my lens cap!”


 

 

Update 11/17/16 – Norma passes. Obit at bottom.

 

 

I’ve worked with and assisted countless photographers over the decades. Many I have forgotten. Some I haven’t seen for 20 or 30 years, I can remember the faces, but not necessarily the names. One photographer I will never forget – Bob Bishop. But sadly he no longer remembers me.

 

Bob Bishop
Bob Bishop
IMG_0243-2
Bob in his home office.

When I first met Bob back in the ’80s he had come into the store looking for pricing in slide film. Not unusual, many photographers wanted to buy locally if they could. The problem was that it was almost impossible for me to match the pricing of films of the large New York retailers. As we talked I learned of his business and what he did.

Bob was a full time photographer making a living. This is unusual as many photographers are part time hobbyists, having another job outside of photography. Bob sold postcards. And lots of them.IMG_0362

IMG_0359
Cases of postcards ready for delivery.

Lots and lots of postcards. Back in the 60s and thru the early 90s Bob had card stands in every tourist stop and recreational retailer in a 4 state area. At our Gene Taylors in Snowmass CO. we had a Bob Bishop postcard stand. Bob would show up a few times a month in the busy seasons and refill the card rack. There were hundreds of choices and thousands of cards,

IMG_0239-2
Just one of the slide storage areas.

And they weren’t all just 4×6 sized either. He sold bigger versions up to an 8×10 and also a line of posters. And there was enough business in this over the years he could support his family in a comfortable fashion.

 

IMG_0240-2
Old photographs trigger old memories!

Bob kept all of his slides at home in a organizational style some would call chaotic, but he knew where they were. The best sellers he kept in a different place.

Over the years we traded gear, sometimes I sold him stuff and sometimes he sold me stuff. He was a very good photographer and used many different tools to get the exact photo he wanted. But mainly he used 35mm film gear.

 

Brochure-Front-Final small
Photo conference in Aspen – 1951.

One of the first successful Photo Conferences was help in Aspen. There is an amazing group photo of the instructors at this conference, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Minor White and more. Bob was there and took photos of these groundbreaking photographers. But I can’t show it. Its copywrited and has value for future uses. But please check out Bobs website.

IMG_4479
From left, my wife Jenny, Bob Bishop, Bobs wife Norma, at his recent show at the Art Center in Grand Junction, Summer 2015.

Bob is 93 now and age is catching up. Dementia is upon him like a warm blanket settling over his shoulders. When he looks at me there is no recognition in his eyes. All of our history is erased to him. And even Norma doesn’t really know me. She is very nice and says she does. But I am gone to her also. He talked to my wife for a good hour at his recent show at the Art Center. He told her stories of visiting the moon and war stories and other things, mostly false memories. When he and I had a chance to visit, that is when he asked me in the nicest way, “When you get to the moon, find my lens cap!”   I miss you Bob. Have nice travels!

 

Norma Bishop

Obituary

Norma Ann Bishop
February 22, 1932 – October 7, 2016
Norma Ann Bishop, of Grand Junction, died October 7, 2016, after a lengthy battle with pulmonary fibrosis and colon cancer. She was 84.
Norma was born February 22, 1932, to Rudolf “Rudy” and Rubye Steinacker in Kansas City, MO. Norma, the youngest of three, spent her childhood on a farm in Parkville, MO.
She graduated from Parkville High School where she played the saxophone in the band. Norma graduated from Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls in 1953, with a bachelor’s degree in education with a major in art and a minor in music.
Norma started her teaching career as an art teacher in West Des Moines, Iowa. She subsequently taught in New Mexico, Japan and the Denver Metro Area before retiring from Taylor Elementary in Palisade in 1997. Norma taught elementary students in Crownpoint, N.M. on the Navajo Reservation early in her career. She took a sabbatical to teach English for two years (1986-1988) at Shokei Women’s Junior College in Sendai, Japan. Norma taught many subjects and grade levels, but she especially enjoyed teaching second grade.
Norma married Robert “Bob” Carskaddan Bishop on November 30, 1958, in Parkville. Bob, a retired professional photographer, is known for his postcard photographs. They met in Denver when Bob made a print for her in his darkroom.
Norma, who was a lifelong learner, was involved in several organizations, including the Mesa County Retired Teachers Association (MCSPERA) and the Colorado School and Public Employees Retirement Association (CSPERA). She was also a member of the Grand Mesa Macintosh Users Group (GMMUG), Western Colorado Bonsai Society, High Desert Orchid Society and the Colorado Mountain Club.
Other memberships included the Colorado National Monument Association, The Art Center in Grand Junction, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, the Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
She enjoyed gardening, reading, traveling, music, art, ceramics, basketry, stained glass, calligraphy, botanical illustration, archaeology and genealogy. Norma was proud of her Swiss heritage. In addition to the saxophone, she played the piano, flute and handbells. Her pets over the years, a rabbit, birds, dogs and a pony, brought joy to her life.
After moving to Grand Junction in 1969, Norma was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and the First Congregational Church UCC.
During Norma’s retirement, she was a board member at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M. She was a volunteer master gardener with the Colorado State University Extension Office in Mesa County. She traveled to Poland in 1998 where she briefly taught English. Other travels with her adventurous spirit included Ecuador and a number of countries in Asia and Europe. She was generous with her time as a volunteer.
Norma was preceded in death by her parents, Rudy Steinacker in 1967 and Rubye Lillian Whiteaker Steinacker in 1951; her sister, Marian Louise Fine in 2009; brother-in-law, Quentin Fine in 2012; brother-in-law, Leonard Stanford Pani in 2005; sister-in-law, Mary Bishop Pani in 1958; father-in-law, Jerome Bishop of Muscatine, Iowa in 1980, and mother-in-law, Marie Barry Brenizer also of Muscatine in 1991.
Norma is survived by her husband, Bob; daughter, Laura Bishop of Grand Junction; brother, Warren Ray Steinacker (Linda) of Glen Mills, PA; nieces, Elaine Scott (Sid), Cincy Borne (Hank), Sharon Steinacker, Eileen Fine, Sheryl Fine (John Lewis) and Marilyn Fine (Craig McCracken); nephews, Doug Stanford (Adriana), Jay Pani, John Pani (Carolyn Mervis) and Tom Pani (Suzanne), and a number of great nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 East Ohio St., Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60611.
A memorial service will be held in Grand Junction in November. Burial was at Walnut Grove Cemetery November 3 in Parkville.
Arrangements were made by Meyers Funeral Chapel – Northland in Parkville and Callahan-Edfast Mortuary in Grand Junction.

– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/gjsentinel/obituary.aspx?n=norma-bishop&pid=182564187&fhid=20357#sthash.JPyzTZvk.dpuf

 

 

Second Chances and Back-up Plans told through a Lens.


Is Brian Williams a verb yet? Im going to get all Brian William-sy in this post and combine a few trips I took into one. My memories also get hazy looking backwards. While I may be combining some trips that were a few years separated, the stories and intent are true…

Sunset in Bisti
Sunset in Bisti

This is where I had my epiphany. Right here in Bisti Badlands in upper New Mexico. This was one of the stops on a series of photography trips I took over a few year stretch in the late 80s-early 90s. The accomplices were usually the same – Steve Traudt, Randy Pearce, Jim Cook, Rod Martinez, and a few others. But I’ll get back to this. First…

Monument valley 1

The trips start with long road truck rides to get to destinations. Usually, in our case, somewhere southwest. Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. These kind of places. Lots of red rocks, piñon and loose dirt. Planned stops along the way involve tripods and cameras. My camera of choice in that time was a Nikon F4S.Nikon F4SI really liked this body. It was a modular design. I had different viewfinders, backs and bottoms, so I could change it on the fly to me specific needs at the time. Certain Medium Format cameras have been doing this for decades, but this was the the best 35mm camera to do this. This also was one of the first cameras that I owned that fit me perfectly. It got to the point where I didn’t have to move my eye from the finder to adjust anything. The dials just fell to my fingers intuitively.

Horseshoe Bend - Page AZ

One of our favorite stops is Page Arizona. This small town is the center of a lot of things photographic. Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, The Wave, The Slot Canyons and more. I had a starter motor go out on my Chevy truck at the lower slot canyon. Randy and Rod were under the truck replacing that damn starter motor on a 100 degree day. Not only that, but after the motor was replaced we went down into the lower slots for the next 6 hours to photograph.

Slots 99

The slot canyons are magical. I have been there 3 times and each time it is different. The way the light bounces around the canyon and softens as it filters down. I have used 35mm and a 6X7 medium format camera in there and have gotten some really nice shots. Who knows what will ever happen to them, but I have them.

Lower Slot Canyon, Page AZ
Lower Slot Canyon, Page AZ

After we left the Arizona area we travelled to a little known area called  Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. Also a fun place to photograph. Amazing towering rocks and so beautiful in its starkness.

bisti 3 bisti 1

And it is here that I have my view changed. I so relied on my F4 and it was so bombproof over the years, that I never gave a second thought to any problems or issues it may give me. But here I am in Bisti and my batteries die. I need AA batteries in the grip. And I have some in my backpack. Some nice lithiums. Brand new products from the Energizer folks. But you see that my F4 was built before lithiums and did not have the circuitry to handle this increase in power, I insert the batteries and turn the camera on. I hear a very faint *pop* and hear a barely audible sizzle. And my F4 is dead. A very heavy dead. And so I am here, in the wilderness, miles from the truck with a storm looming (see above), with a brick for a camera. I am distraught. We have many more days of shooting ahead and I am done. Toast. Finis.

Nikon FM2

As I am putting my F4 away in my backpack, wrapping it in the neoprene wrap I used for extra protection, my hand hits something hard down in the bottom of the bag. My FM2! I had stuffed it down there months earlier on another shoot. I was saved! A shot of adrenaline courses through my body. I think I cried a bit at the circumstances. Before I was lost, bereft of hope, and now I am saved! I had unknowingly made my own Plan B!  A second chance. At the time I stuffed the backup body in the bag, I had no way of foreseeing the tragedy of new batteries in an older body. And I had given myself a second chance without knowing. All because I had stuffed a manual body down in the bowels of my backpack. And so then I made more images on the way home.

Lonely WindmillSilverton SIG-SHP-159-Yankee Girl Mine 1 Ouray area 6

Having that camera body stuffed in my pack saved the trip. The images mean a lot to me because of the way I had to take them. And an unintentional backup plan taught me to be more conscious of making intentional backup plans!

Dustbowls, Documentaries, and Dorothea Lange


Geneology

I was going through a family history and recollections that my Uncle and Mother have written. They completed this remembrance of their growing up years as a way to preserve some family history for future generations. Its actually quite cool. Handwritten and hand drawn genealogical charts, Civil and Revolutionary war tales, Depression era stories. The whole gamut. A very interesting read. Below is a small excerpt from my mothers memory…

Dustbowl 1

As an aside, if you have not seen the exceptional movie that Ken Burns made,

You should! It just brings home the extraordinary circumstances that forged and shaped a whole generation of people. Including my parents. And then us, the following generation.

One of the chronologers of that era was an amazing photographer named Dorothea Lange. You can see her amazing work all over the place. I like the albums on Shorpy the best. In my opinion she captured the anguish and worry of a segment of America that nobody else could. Pictures like hers can only be made with empathy and compassion. Not to mention her compositional skills and perfect eye. Below is her seminal photo.

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange

People lived through this mess, and made it to the other side. Scarred and ready to move on. Some moved on with little on their back and some looked back to those they left behind. Some didn’t make it through at all. My own mother talked a lot about the depression and the dustbowl years. The poor living conditions and her own families struggle to make ends meet made a huge impression on her, and shaped her demeanor and outlook on life. Later in her own life, as time and energy were drawn out of her, she would talk about those times with me, sitting on her front porch. She would draw comparisons to current conditions and we would have a discussion. Tough times never left my mother. As in the face of the mother above, some situations shape the rest of our lives.

Copper Plate printing and the Shopper


It is about 1980 and I am working at the Gunnison County Shopper. A weekly devoted to want ads and advertising.Most communities have one like this. I am an ad salesman and all around gofer. One of my jobs is to get up at an ungodly hour on every Wednesday morning and drive to the Montrose Daily Press. But I am getting ahead of myself.

copper-plate-engraving

When you called the Shopper back then you would tell the person on the phone what you were selling. The words were typed into a small printing machine which would spit out your ad on a thick paper, This would be adhered with wax to a large 2 page spread template. So the pages would be page 1 on the right and page 16 on the left. Then page 2 on the left and page 15 on the right. So if you are imagining this in your head, you are already folding the pages into each other. ( I tried to find pictures on the web to illustrate this for you, but there seem to be none.)

Wax Typesetting

So the paper is hand laid out on all these sheets. Tiny little boxes of ads running up and down the pages all stuck on with wax. The ads were composed of clippings from clip art books for any graphics and all the text made with that same little printer. If the paper had color in that week, then you had different sheets with each of the corresponding colors. Called a color separation the colors would be split by page into CMYK. Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black. So a color separation was more time consuming and if not done correctly, embarrasing.

Ok, so now it is 3 am on a Wednesday morning and I am on my way to Montrose with a large 2 foot by 3 foot by 3 inch thick box with at least 16 pages, but probably more because of the color seps. At the Montrose Daily press we would go into the copper plate room. The copper plate was the same size as 2 pages of the shopper, just like we laid out. The plate was put into a machine that would bend back the edges about 1/2 inch on the upper and lower sides and then it was coated with a thin layer of some chemical I cant remember now. The plate was placed on the back side of a large washing machine-looking appliance, and our waxed paper layup on the opposite side. In the middle was a heliarc welding rod of some sort. The lid was closed and a button pushed. The arc would get red hot and the written word was magically transposed into the copper plate. The chemical kept everything that was dark, the text and pictures, and disregarded anything white. And it was placed on it upside down and backwards. Think of it as a very large negative.

All of these plates are now taken into the pressroom and attached to various huge rollers. Most of them on the black ink rollers, but in some instances onto the C or M or Y ink rollers. And then the giant press starts turning. Paper is pulled off gigantic rolls, fed into one end, passes through the copper plate rollers and eventually comes out the other end printed, matched up, cut into pages and folded. Amazing and magical. If there were inserts that day. I would be busy stuffing them into the papers innerds. The bundles of papers were then loaded into the back end of the Shoppers Suburban and home I went. Usually in the afternoon.

The papers were offloaded at a warehouse where all the delivery people would come pick up their amount of bundles to be delivered bright and early Thursday morning.

removing-letter-lrg

One of the more interesting jobs I had as a young man. Now it is all done digitally in computers and with new state of the art printing presses. Who would remember the copper plate system now? It was state of the art at the time. it replaced making all your text with lead letters lined up in rows and pressed under pressure onto the paper.

Pictures from Google images.