Wednesday, May 24, 2006

One More for Buck Miller

I borrowed this image from the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel archives. Thanks guys. I was there when this pic was new.

Buck took this pic of Georgia O'Keefe in the fall of 1977, if I recall correctly. I was in his 101 class (and about 3 more classes over two years)and he printed up this and about 5 others he'd shot the day before. He asked me and Kathy Duenkel and Mike Dawkins and about 3 other people what we thought of the photos.

The comments ranged from "Nice" to "who's she?". I don't recall what innane words I had at the time. I knew Buck from working at the Milwaukee Journal. He had been a real photographer and me a lowly clerk and here he was asking me about a portrait of Georgia O'Keefe. I was probably the schtupp that said "Nice". No doubt.

It wasn't until about 3 days later that I realized that those hands he shot, Georgia's hands, were the same ones that Alfred Steiglitz shot 60 years before when she was the love of his life and here, shit, Buck does it again as well (probably better).

He was my friend and my teacher and showed me more about photo-journalism and shooting people than I will ever remember at any one time. I know it shows up in what I shoot now and sparks my observations and commentary probably daily. I'll never do it as well as he did.

I miss Buck. He had more talent and laughs and tears than I'll ever know. There was the time when he and Larry Chatman had a party and the both shaved half their beards off, opposite sides. I believe Widen shot the pic for the invitation/poster. It was a hoot. But Buck had Air Force/Vietnam stories/images that would/will make you cry your eyes out too.

To comment on Ted's Dangerfield comment, I just have to say that Buck woulda hooted over that. He and Chatman used to do Jack Benny and Rochester. Buck was hardly Afro-American and he'd do Rochester perfectly. Larry'd do Benny and he had the same racial liability, but always did it to perfection.

Thanks Dave Gilo. I needed a reflective moment. Thanks Buck for being my friend too.

That's touching, Leonard.
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