In the early 1980’s, I was living in an old broken-down four-flat house across the street from the University of Wisconsin campus. My upstairs neighbor was an engineering student who was trying to start a portrait photography business. So he practiced with the student residents of the flat in order to perfect his craft for paying clients. I remember well his various efforts at backdrops and drapes and lighting, some of which was more successful than others. I remember too that after a photography session, he would run over to the dark room at the student union across the street where he would develop the negatives. Over a period of years, we all individually sat for his portraits, and he would make prints for us to see what we thought of his work . I would ask him for extra copies of some prints for my mother, but I never did anything with my copies feeling that it was too vain to hang them on my wall. So I put the prints and negatives in a box that I would lug along every time I moved over the years.
Last week I was rummaging in our basement and discovered these portraits in a large cardboard box. Some of the photos were mounted and some were loose, and they came in all different sizes. Along with the prints were all of the negatives and contact sheets. I had long forgotten the existence of these photos, and the box had been left sealed shut in basements of my homes for at least 20 or 30 years. I am amazing that all of the photos are in perfect condition with only one, shown in the gallery, showing a smudge on the mount.
Now that I am doing photography myself, I appreciate my neighbor’s skill in taking these photographs and developing them in the darkroom. I am going to try to locate him so that I can extend my thanks again after these many years. My finding the photos coincided with this week’s topic of “Faces” and I felt it would be fun to post them as a way of thanking my neighbor Steve.
#Weekly Photo Challenge Face