Friday, March 23, 2012

Smoke Eater.....

Quite a few years ago now, while we were still living in North Bay, Ont., there was a huge fire in the downtown area that totally destroyed the Richardson building. Unfortunately, it also was the place where my old friend, Jack Shepherd, had his studio and all of his many thousands of negatives and prints, as well as all of his 35mm and Medium format cameras and studio lighting. He was in the hospital at the time of this fire. In those days, if there was a huge fire, especially in the downtown core, I would show up and hope for a decent shot or two. In this particular scene, the firefighter had completely disappeared in the heavy thick brown dense smoke, and as the smoke started to dissapate, I had the camera at the ready, and held the shutter down for continous shooting at about 5 frames per second. This is one of the frames just as the firefighter started to reappear, and you can only see his head/helmet the top of the ladder with the hose shooting a steady stream of water down upon the burning structure. Now, these many years later, when we have things like computers and Photoshop editing software, I revisited this old negative. After scanning it on my 35mm Plustek film scanner, I used a few filters etc. and was able to make the dense smoke appear as very abstract red hot flames that surround the firefighter. To me, it speaks of the job that firefighters the world over do on a daily basis.....Smoke Eaters for sure! Hope you like it also

Camera: Minolta Maxxum 9 with Fuji Reala film.
Lens: Minolta AF 100 ~ 300 mm zoom hand held.

4 comments:

Mike de Moree said...

It has become quite an abstract image David. I don't think without your explanation that I would know what the original subject was. I also have to set the record straight about this event.Jack was living at the time of the fire at the ONR apartment building on Oak Street. On this fateful Saturday I was visiting him which I did on most Saturdays. We would talk about photography made some prints and then go for lunch. It so happened that I proposed to pick up all his negatives that afternoon so he could scan them. Jack said no don't bother because I'll have someone from the store pick them up for me on Monday. That afternoon the place burnt to the ground. If I had gone in to get his negatives I might have been caught in the fire because it started right underneath his little studio. Anyway I thought you might like that story.

David c.h. Brown said...

Hey Mike,
Thanks a lot for correcting things for me. Certain events get a little muddled with the passing of time I guess. Anyway, I always remember this event as Jack's transition to digital photography, which was amazing considering his age at the time. Thanks again. Dave

John Minkowskyj said...

Miss your postings!!!!

David c.h. Brown said...

Hey John,
I have been up in New Liskeard for about a week now, and hope to get some more stuff to post soon. Thanks for keeping an eye out though. Dave