All Images, reflections, memories and fabrications ©2011 Tony Hernandez Photography

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hippy Strap and the Black Hat

I now have this cool camera. I take it everywhere I go. Photography magazines and catalogs are my new vice. So many new trends in cameras and gear. Zoom lenses, flash units, motor drives, light meters. All sorts of goodies filled the pages. But there was one piece of equipment that seemed to be "the thing to have" back in the day. It was a 2" wide camera strap that looked like it had been made by a hippy belt weaver. I'm sure you remember the look. I found one at a camera store, bought it, and put it on my camera. No more geeky looking skinny strap for me. It's funny how something as simple as this can make such a change in one's attitude. I now felt like "one of the in crowd", photographically speaking of course. The first time I saw this awesome accessory was my sophomore year in high school. There was this guy, a year ahead of me, which made him a junior, who used to walk around school with a camera and wearing a black hat. He seemed to know everybody. Jocks, cheerleaders, AV clubbers, everybody. All clique lines were blurred with this guy. He stood on the sidelines of all the football games shooting pictures of the action, and the "pom pom girls". He was, in effect, my new hero. His name was Bob and he was the "dude" when it came to photography at my high school. Aside from being the photo editor of the yearbook, Bob was also a role model when it came to "shameless self-promotion". He had T-shirts made with his picture on it, wearing that black hat, holding a camera, and a tag line that said: "Photos by Romi". The fact that he was still in high school and already promoting himself did not escape me. My Dad would call this "a good hustle", which meant my Dad was impressed. I met Bob in the bleachers of a basketball game that year. He was videotaping the game for the coach with what looked like an old reel to reel tape machine with a clunky camera connected to it. I went up and started talking to him. He was more than happy to talk about photography, being on the yearbook staff, and shooting pictures of pom pom girls. After a while, I mentioned an interest in being on the yearbook staff as a photographer. He said: "go talk to Mrs. D". She was the Teacher in charge of the book. I figured I had nothing to lose and said I would talk to her next week. Talking with Bob that day was a revelation. It was the fist time I was able to discuss photography with someone without them being totally confused. He understood the lingo, the equipment, and the passion shooting pictures evoked in ones creative drive.

All I could think about was shooting pictures of pom pom girls and getting into football games for free.

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