22 February 2013

For the want of a Nail

The older folks amongst the readership may well be familiar adage:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost;
 and for want of a horse the rider was lost;
 being overtaken and slain by the enemy,
all for want of care about a horse-shoe nail.
Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack 1758 edition

Those who have known Mr. Fuzzy for decades know his life revolves around the art of capturing photons and using them to produce visible images. His life's plan was set by working after high school classes for Charlie Manion at his commercial photography studio; little did either then realize the import of making spare change. In the last forty plus years, Mr. Fuzzy has nearly always possessed (or been possessed some might say) a darkroom - or had ready access to one. His college dorm closet contained no product of the milliner's trade but instead a small, cheap (when cheap meant Italian rather than a top notch German product) 35mm enlarger and four 9x11 plastic trays for developing prints. The lads of the fourth floor were oft amused by the pile of black & white prints washing in the group shower.

It has been a severe trial over the last four and a half years to not have a darkroom, intellectually akin to having no meat in the day's meal; adequate to exist but no joy in that state. An attempt was made to at least develop film in the guest bathroom but the constrained space and odd proportion were so far from optimal as to be abandoned after a few months.

Mr. Fuzzy is elated to announce to those few who read this blog that he has an honest to goodness darkroom now, after much time and some travail. Almost all leather goods stored in the basement molded severely, even if wrapped well and deeply inside a large moving company box. Leather coverings on camera bodies were loosened by the extended humidity exposure.

Dozens and dozens of cases, lens containers, light meter cases, etc., had to be cleaned of the mold and treated to hopefully prevent any recurrence .

Then there were the items damaged or lost by the movers. For instance, the three casters on the Semi-Centennial stand were lost; without the casters, the stand was worthless, without the stand, the camera that rests upon it was unusable. The circa 1910 stand did not fit any modern casters that Mr. Fuzzy could locate. Progress was at a standstill. Then it was discovered that little Floyd had a full blown machine shop. Joe K. turned three steel adapters and viola, the stand was operational and the camera ready to catch sun beams once more after a four and a half year hiatus.

Then it was down to a few missing crucial items like the professional quality light meter, necessary to measure the amount of light emitted by strobes. Mr. Fuzzy thought he had seen it the first year at Stratheden but not since. At long last, it was located, the mold removed and a fresh nine volt battery inserted. It is ancient and has been totally superseded by modern digital meters but this one is an old familiar friend and will remain at labor. "And then there was light" measured... a studio without a light meter is like unto a machine shop sans micrometers.

Another key item unaccounted for was the enlarger lens. All of the various other parts had been found, cleaned and assembled. There sat the enlarger, all in perfect order, waiting to be used - but not possible without a lens. An old and dear friend, Bob N., sent several of his enlarging lenses as a most generous gift. As proof that God has a sense of humor, about three hours after Bob's lenses were unwrapped, the missing lenses appeared.

"Nothing now remains to be considered."


JudyB said...

Sorry to hear of all the struggle to put your photographic life back together. We hope to get a personal tour of the completed studio at some hopefully not too far off future date.

Mr. Fuzzy said...

Looking forward to hosting you guys... when did this post appear on your screen? It did not show on mine until I posted it today. Very confusing.

Lausanne said...

I'm glad to hear that you are finally getting your photographic studio up and running . It must be a delightful feeling after watching your equipment mold in the basement since moving to Virginia. I am sure in the painstaking cleaning process there must have been a cuss or two about how you never had to deal with moisture issues in the sunny southwest. I'll bet you will take pains to provide the new studio with adequate de-humidification , even during times of prolonged drought. I look forward to seeing your new studio one of these days.