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WWII Speed Graphic photographer interview

 
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am wondering if anyone would be interested in hearing what a WWII Speed Graphic photographer might have to say about his experiences with the camera. He also shot K-20 cameras in the bombers.
I am a trained historian but not in oral histories so I am posting this to find out if anyone has any suggestions or questions I might present to the man should I actually go up and meet with him. I have spoken with him only once and can not try to do this without a structured format since he talks all over the place and didn't even allow me to explain myself. So I know how this will go on the first meeting and intend to request a formal interview with recorder and a list of questions for a second meeting convenient for him. At least these are my intentions if anyone is interested.
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Joined: 06 Apr 2002
Posts: 198
Location: Northern New England USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Start with his life before the war, then training, deployment, field service, and how/when he was demobilized. Given these guidelines, I'm sure that you can figure out what questions to ask.
Time spent with these vets is like gold to a historian. Just this past weekend I was talking to Jack Agnew, a pathfinder from the 101st Abn who jumped into Bastogne to set up the LZ for the glider re-supply mission 24 Dec 44. I've known Jack for years, interviewed him several times before, and still came away with information that was new to me.
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No I decided I am not going to bother with it based on my first conversation with the person and just let it go. It was pretty obvious I am not going to hear what I am interested in anyway. Actually all I heard about was something about a bunch of china dishes he was trying to sell. I don't have the patience for it, and that's why I tried to delete the post, and somehow it seems to have reappeared, which I am not very happy about.
But thanks anyway.
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pv17vv



Joined: 22 Dec 2001
Posts: 255
Location: The Ardennes, Belgium

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've searched the internet about memories of WWII photographers but found nothing yet. I'd very much like to hear how they used their cameras in the field, focusing, exposing, and so on.
If I had the opportunity of meeting one, I'd have enough patience to endure china dishes, grand-children, pets, politics, and whatever he'd like to tell me and sort everything later.
Sad thing you gave up.

Georges
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't give up so easy as you may think, however my father is in and out of the hospital for the last few years and requires about all the patience I have currently...
so how someone used a Graphic camera will have to remain a complete and total mystery for while longer...
Sorry
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pv17vv



Joined: 22 Dec 2001
Posts: 255
Location: The Ardennes, Belgium

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand, my mother's health isn't good and 2005 was hell. However, if you decide to go back to this veteran, let me know and I'll send you a long list of questions. I wish you and your father the best possible.
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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this research should have been done years ago while it was fresh in the minds of the Vets..most are now waiting for the last post themselves.

Im not alluding to you folks here,it's much too late to expect 'old stagers'to cough up info after all these years and remain accurate.No wonder they talk about china plates.

What is needed here is a mass publicity campaign throughout the States,perhaps with the help of NBC or ABC,to find these guys.Make a great story.This needs the power of the press behind this venture.Im surprised Nat Geographical or those like it,haven't caught on to this story,and being the most popular camera in the World,and it's vast background.Come on America get a grip.

Just hoping the next door neighbour will tell us his/her experience is pie in the sky.
It's getting late,and time is running out FAST!.

It's no good advertising through this forum either,most perhaps don't know it exists,and remember war photographers then just look upon the work as compulsory during the war years,and rather 'forget' that nasty experience.

My years in the London Blitz as a boy with bombs raining down is something I'd rather not talk about,extremely painful subject.

I can understand the effect it had on photographers on the beaches or battlefields of World War 2.My heart goes out to them.

But somewhere out there,and as I say,with publicity & research, a couple will talk before it's too late.
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pv17vv



Joined: 22 Dec 2001
Posts: 255
Location: The Ardennes, Belgium

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sid, this is exactly what I'm thinking but you said it better - after all English is your language and not mine.
However, I'm astonished by one thing. I've searched the www about veteran's memories and I've found a real big number of pages. But till now I've found next to nothing written by or about photographers and their war experiences. Maybe I don't look where I should, but it seems pretty rare.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1446
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here in Pennsylvania we have the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), which is funded by all the cable companies in the Commonwealth. Last year, which of course marked the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, PCN did a series of interviews with Pa. veterans of the Big One. (These were not photographers, but soldiers, sailors, air men, etc.) Fascinating stories these guys can tell! And yesterday on the History Channel I watched a program on African-American combat veterans who were awarded the Medal of Honor, some of them posthumously, for valor under fire. These men had been denied the honor at the time because of an unwritten rule against awarding the Medal to black servicemen! During the Clinton administration this injustice was redressed. It's Black History Month here and programs like these are being shown every day. I find them all fascinating. Listening to what all these guys went through will send a chill up your spine, and tears too. (As the old saying goes, it's enough to make weak men curse and strong men cry.) My Dad was a vet, and could tell stories by the hour and never repeat himself. Stupid me never brought a tape recorder along on my visits. I'll never be half the man that any one of those men was.
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep this up and maybe I will find the time, but pops is back in CC so in the mean time keep this forum going and perhaps Iwill get some ideas to jot down, and that was the idea in the first place. I have a mini Speed on the way but no aniversary to put in his hands though I had been trying to find one. I do have a very nice Crown, but My Pacemaker Speeds are getting torn down again and gettting the RF's rebuilt, and I have no ETA on thier return to action... But one of my ideas to get the ball rolling was to actually hand him a camera and ask and show me etc...
I do not know if he saw combat or if he actually flew in the Bombers, but I am under the impression that he did. And I am well studied in the bombing campaigns, infact have studied WWII on and off for well over twenty years. My father, whoI am off to check on now is a veteran of the radio opperations on Adak island in Alaska intercepoting enemy transmitions and RDFing them etc... There is one hitorical site/memorial I know of to the Radio men tucked away on the N.Cal coast just south of Crecent City. He still believes he is sworn to secrecy if that makes any sense after all this time...
regards,
SA
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Joined: 06 Apr 2002
Posts: 198
Location: Northern New England USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You set up an interview and I'll send you my wartime Anny to put in his hands....as long as I get it back.
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was generous, but you might get it back in better condition than it left so better hang on to it 'cause once I get my hands on one myself they have a tendency to get worked on and then I get attached to them.
I am a firm believer in not loaning out one's tools unless they can easily be replaced physically and economically.
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