“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
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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

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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,

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

You Never Forget Your First!


72 Chevy NovaAnd she was a beautiful girl. 4 doors and a small 307 V8. 3 on the tree and a hi/lo switch on the floor. I got her to commit to be mine for only $500. She really liked to eat her way thru starter motors, but I could forgive that. I re-upholstered the bench seats and gave her some neat black new rubber shoes. And she ran! I’m not going to call her heavy, but tipping the scales at a ton and a half, she was no speedster off the line. But once you got her purring at about 63 MPH, she would cruise forever.

You could put a lot of junk in her trunk and fill her up in the backseat with barely a whimper. She was with me through high school. A trip with Lex to Montana and back. Through numerous trips to Grand Junction to visit Mom. She accompanied me on dates with my soon to be bride. She even went with me when I eventually moved to Grand Junction for good. But alas, it was too hot in the summers in Grand Junction. And my new job demanded a truck. So I dumped her. And regret it to this day.

It is true that you never forget your first. The freedom that comes at 17 with your first car. No more relying on parents for rides. Taking friends to Neversink for Woodsies and Mickies Big Mouths. (Shhhh, thats a secret!) Listening to Meatloafs ‘Love by the Dashboard Lights’ on a tinny AM radio. Gotta love the 70’s. But it is the nostalgia, and the vivid memories of everything that is attached to that car that remains. I’ve had numerous vehicles and motorcycles since. But none tug at my heart like my 1972 Chevy Nova sedan. Green with the white top. And a backseat measured in acres!

Survivor


He slumps into the restaurant, pulling rain-drenched garments off of him as he walks to a booth in the back. Using one of the benches at his booth, he piles the sodden clothing up. It looks like a laundry bin at the homeless shelter. Smells like it too. Collapsing into the opposite seat, he breathes heavily and deliberately. Years of bad habits and living in big cities have coated his lungs so that actual oxygen has to fight to be absorbed. He pulls up his hand to his face, and slowly slides it up over the top of his head, slicking down his hair and squeegee-ing off the water at the same time. The wrinkles in his face still hold the last remnants of the squall.

 

He looks up just in time to see the waitress looking away from him with a thinly veiled look of disgust. He sees it all the time. That look of dismay and rejection all rolled up into a quick eye-roll and dropping of the chin. As she approaches his table with a mug and a carafe she gets a quick whiff of his fermenting clothes piled up on the bench across from him. Her nose wrinkles involuntarily and she gasps quietly. But he sees it. He sees everything. So attuned to his own situation and its effect on others, he knows. Yes he knows what they think and what they say behind his back.

 

Finishing his third cup of coffee and the barely edible blue-plate special, he starts to work up the energy to depart. Easing up out of the seat, he leaves a small puddle of water on the naugahyde cover.  All the clothing in the musky pile start reassembling themselves back into their previous locations about his body. When fully wrapped, he reaches into his back pocket for his wallet and pulls it out. Unwrapping a large rubber band holding it all together he pulls the appropriate amount out, with a generous tip, and tosses it on the table.

 

Standing at the restaurant door he peers out into the darkness, listening to the storm howl. His body steels itself as he pushes open the door and lumbers out into the fray. A few corners turned and he has disappeared into the world. Completely visible and invisible all at the same time. Skills learned from years in the army. He looks for the familiar alleys and stoops to survive yet another night. Lonely and alone. Scared and scarred. Barely alive but not yet dead. Maybe Death will come tonight. You never know. Sometimes you do get what you wish for.

10 Assorted thoughts and rants…or “Hey you kids, get off my damn lawn!”


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1) We should pay all our public servants, like Senators and Congressman, the same as the medium income in their districts.If they want to earn more, then raise the pay and earning potential in your own backyard. You are supposed to represent us, so get paid like us. Buy your insurance like us, no more getting it free from the government. I am getting more and more disgusted with our politicians and their inability to make common sense decisions. We send you there to work, not argue. Shut the fuck up already.

2) The NSA is spying rampantly not only on its own citizens, but on our overseas allies as well. Facebook and Google use your own personal information to sell advertising. Adobe lost the information to millions of their customers. Hackers break into corporations and government databases seemingly at will. The companies do not really care about safeguarding your information. It’s just a means to an end. All they really want your info for is advertising. Safeguarding it is secondary.

3) Fracking is not an individual thing. It’s a process. Being against fracking is like being against cooking. What people are against are the  products being sent downhole to assist in the process of extracting oil and gas. So it’s slightly illogical to pass laws limiting all fracking. If your community, I’m looking at you eastern slope of Colorado, wants to control fracking, then pass the laws to limit the chemicals going downhole. Let the companies frac using water and sand. If you enjoy a heated home and gasoline in your car, then you can’t vote to get rid of a process integral to oil and gas. I don’t like Brussel Sprouts, but we still cook.

4) Another thought like #1. Ben and Jerrys ice cream owners had a rule where the highest paid executive could only earn X times of what the lowest paid person made at their company. I like this. So say an elected official could only make X percent more than minimum wage. Or an executive at a greedy bank could only make X percent more than their janatorial staff. If they want more money, than give raises all around. Or learn to live on less, like the rest of us.

5) Why does it seem so impossible for the city to get the manhole covers flush with the surface of the street? Either they are 2 inches above or below the street. Whats up with that?

6) When I bought an item to resell in the store, I paid a price, added whatever markup to it, and put it out for sale. Why don’t gas stations do that? Why does the price for a gallon of gas fluctuate so often? How many price changes does the gas go thru on just the one delivery of fuel into their underground tanks? I’m sure they just pay a set price for the delivery of that fuel. But their retail price on that same delivery changes 10s, maybe 100s of times, throughout the one time delivery.

7) Got 5 inches of snow here in the Grand Valley overnight. They closed the schools for the day, among other things. Growing up in Gunnison, I dont remember ever having ‘snow days’. You went. Period.

8) I am so tired of the ‘win at any cost’ mentality of pro athletes. Doping, juicing, HGH, cheating, scamming, It’s too much. From coaches and athletes all the way up to ownership. I’m sick of it. I can barely watch any pro sport anymore because I am constantly asking myself about the intentions and outcomes. Pisses me off. Pro Basketball especially is painful to watch. It’s all about fouling. There is no flow to the game.

9) Another school shooting. The Denver TV station we get (Fox) was talking about rumors of the shooting days before it actually happened. Id like to hear about that now. If there were rumors about this school in particular, let’s get the principle and police together to explain why they weren’t there for the kids.  Also we should be asking where did the kid get the gun? Why wasn’t it locked up and the ammo locked up separately? Its time we held parents responsible too.

10) Last one…Its Merry Christmas. Or Happy Hanukkah. Or Happy Kwanzaa. It is not Happy Holidays. We are a nation based and founded by religion. We happily welcome others to participate in their own beliefs. And we happily welcome you to have no belief at all. So to put out a generic bland greeting is chicken shit. Be proud of your religion, or lack of one. Whatever. Just stand up, have a backbone, and say Merry Christmas. People understand. Even if it’s not their own religion. This time it really is The Thought That Counts. Merry Christmas everyone!