Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Passing Of A Really Great Photographer

Does he look familiar?  Do you know any of his work?  Probably not.  His name is Bob Devine and he died over the weekend.  Today’s image is from somewhere near 1974-1975.  The young boy with him is our oldest son, who would have been 43 this year.  The shot is typical Bob.  He was a teacher to anyone he’d go shooting with.  It didn’t matter if he was with peers, kids, interested “newbies” or just friends. 

The last time I saw Bob was last year at a local camera club.  He just happened to stop down and gave the club’s president some medals the club had won back in the 60’s and 70’s.  I didn’t recognize him and asked him for his name.  He said “I’m Bob Devine”.  I replied “I’ve got your lights”.  The message didn’t connect and he couldn’t figure out what I was talking about.  He said “what?”.  I again told him I had his lights.  His retort was “who the hell are you?”  I told him I was Tom Peterson.  He cracked a smile and said if I didn’t get the lights back to him pretty soon, he wouldn’t loan them to me again.  I borrowed them back in the 70’s, so I’d guess him hadn’t missed them that much.  They were pretty much the thing back in the 70’s.  Hot lights with daylight balanced tungsten bulbs and 10” reflectors.  That’s what passed for “studio lights” at the time.  As an aside, I called my wife over.  Bob took one look at her and said "Doris, why haven't you aged at all?"  The guy was smooth.

We used to travel together to shoot and judge camera club competitions.  The two of us and our “third amigo” (Ernie Stonebraker [real name]) would go off for the weekend and blow a boat load of film.  One trip to Maine, between the three of us, we had something like 120 36 exposure rolls of film.  Typically it was either slide film or Tri X B&W film.  We used to scare the hell out of camera clubs when we’d walk in to judge a competition.  We’d ask what the scoring range they used was and then tell them we would be using the entire range.  Back in the 70’s the range was usually three through nine. 

Bob mentioned, when pushed, that he had driven stock cars “back in the day”.  I read his obit. today and found out he was the USAR champion a couple times.  The stuff you never knew. 

Well, he was a buddy.  As far as I’m concerned, you don’t have to see someone on a weekly basis to be a friend.  People I call friends come dear to me.  I have all sorts of acquaintances, but the number I call friends are very few.  Bob was one of the best.  Peace to you my friend.