Saturday, August 12, 2006

Treasures In The Dust

As mentioned in my last post, I'm getting ready to move the office. As I pack this and that I often stop to check-out something I knew I had but haven't seen in years. This morning, while transferring the contents of one of the file cabinet drawers to an R-Kive box, I came across a page of slides I was looking for about two weeks ago, when I posted the bit about making the transition from a steady gig to freelancing: it's a picture (I knew I had it... somewhere) of Klaus Lucka, one of the major influences on my work.

I had been fairly successful as a freelance assistant for a couple of years but in 1979, Hashi, one of my favorite photographers, a former employer and, by then, a good friend, had a run of fairly high assistant turnover. He needed to stabilize the studio and asked me to return as Studio Manager. My job there would be to hire and train a new staff, and get the studio back on an even keel.

You can call me a masochist, but I loved working for Hashi, however difficult it could be. We hired a number of really great assistants and got the place back on-track, which took about a year to accomplish. Having done so, work there became routine for me and I was getting itchy, needing a change.

Just about that time, April 1980, I was in the studio early one morning and at the other end of the ringing phone: Klaus Lucka. He called to say he'd heard about me from his European agent (also repped Hashi in Europe) and wondered if I'd be interested in working for him?

Actually, yes! I'd admired his work for a long time and it seemed like a golden opportunity. We met, talked, met again a few days later and I agreed to join him.

Though my tenure as Klaus' First Assistant lasted a short, but very very intense, four months it was one of the most valuable experiences of my apprenticeship and Klaus became a major influence. Here's one of my favorite pictures of Klaus.

I made this image with my trusty Contax T* which I held out the driver's side window of a Ford Bronco as I drove it through the North Cascade Pass and Klaus leaned out the back window. Shot it left-handed, backwards, pre-focused and without looking through the viewfinder. Not bad!

Now back to work.


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