Sunday, September 28, 2008

AN OLD FAVORITE.....

"Dead Pecker Bench" Coupland, Texas October 1980

Once again, digging back in my old negs -- currently I'm about halfway through 1980. In October of that year, I happen to wander through Coupland. I had made an image across the street of some grain tanks, and while do so noticed these two old guys watching me. After finishing with the tanks, I wandered across the street with my 4x5 on tripod over one shoulder and camera pack on my other shoulder. Mr. Heinzke (on the right) asked what I was taking a picture of -- I told him I was interested in the way the light was splitting the tanks. We talked a little more and then he asked me: "You know what we call this place?" I said Coupland. "No -- where we're sittin." "It's the dead pecker bench!" At that, Mr Brockington smiled broadly in response to Mr. Heinzke's laugh. I told them after a joke like that, I should make a picture of the two of them. Mr. Heinzke turned to Mr. Brockington: "John, you think we should let this feller take our picture?" Mr. Brockington merely gently nodded approval. I quickly set up -- I remember it like yesterday, 4x5 Wista with the 240mm AS f/9 Fujinon (on my field notes I have the exposure and development recorded). We chatted as I made this image, and when I had put the camera away, I got their names and mailing addresses so I could mail promised copies of the picture. Mr. Heinzke wrote both addresses even though he never consulted Mr. Brockington -- he just knew the other man's address. I thanked them, shook both their hand. Mr. Heinzke had done all the talking, while Mr. Brockington had nodded twice and smiled once. From the time I took the camera out of the truck to make the image of the grain tanks until I put back after making the "Dead Pecker Bench" image was maybe 35-40 minutes. It was a good photoing day.

4 comments:

Billie said...

Frank, this was a good 'photoing' day. The image is a keeper! And the story is so heart warming. Love it.

Sparky said...

Got to agree with Billie, great shot. Something about random portraits is incredibly charming.

Billie said...

Frank, I keep thinking about this portrait and for me there is an undercurrent that maybe people who didn't grow up in TX or the South would pick up on. It is subtle but somewhere in the back of my mind is the whole issue of race relations. What IS the relationship between these two men in 1980? I said earlier that this was a keeper but it is more than that for me. It is an image that I could study and think about for a long time. Again, wonderful image.

pitchertaker said...

Thanks to Billie and Sparky (whoever you might be).....

Billie: I have often pondered that same question. What really strikes me is the reserved pose of the Mr. Brockington vs. the open, gagarious Mr. Heinzke. From the conversation, I got the feeling that these two men had sat and conversed more than just this one time on these steps.

P'taker

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