Specializing in The Senior Experience. Serving Southwest Missouri. A look at the photography, business and my life as a creative.

Lebanon Senior Photographer- Why Photography?

This blog post is from 2011 but, it is still relevant to me today. This quote hangs in my studio and will forever answer the ‘why’.

print washer, photography

This is a story from the past, which greatly applies to the present and future of photography.
W.A. Lenz After he opened his Lebanon, Missouri photography studio in1908, the locals called W.A. Lenz the ‘kid’ photographer. He ran a successful studio for many years. However, he was also an inventor. He debuted a device of his design, the Lenz Rotary Print Washer, at the National Photographer’s Convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, in August 1919.
Through a series of extraordinarily ordinary events, I had the good fortune to grow up next door to Herbert Lenz, the son of W. A. Lenz. Herb joined his father’s photography and print washer business in 1946 and spent a great deal of time in his life developing, improving, selling and marketing the Lenz Rotary Print Washer. Late in Herb’s life, he had an auction where I purchased, for a few dollars, two large, dusty boxes of memories from the business and his life. The boxes included: negatives of various formats (including glass plates), pencils, notes, original drawings of the print washer, stamps, ads and an almost forgotten article from the local paper in 1939. The article is from a talk given by W.A. Lenz to a local University Club luncheon. As of 1939, W.A. had been involved in photography for 40 of the 100 years of its existence. His talk was entitled, “History of Photography”. In that article I found the following profound thoughts:
“I am photography: I turn back the pages of the book of memory, I bring back the thoughts of bygone years and old-time friends. I keep forever the green and happy hours of childhood. I soothe the pangs of bereavement, and dull the edge of the grim reaper’s scythe.
“I carry to you the news of the whole world and bring you visions of far-distant lands. Modern civilization depends upon my aid. Though men may pass away and great nations crumble into dust, my magic power will preserve their likenesses for future generations yet unborn. I am not expensive, but I am within reach of all. I long to serve the high, the low, the rich, the poor, they are all dear to me.
“I help to solve the great mysteries, impenetrable to mortal eyes. I ferret out the criminal when all other means have failed. I illuminate the pages of history and make learning possible quickly for the multitude. I am born as instantaneously as a flash of light, but I become as everlasting as the hills. I am as necessary in peace as I am in war. I am man’s servant. I am an art, a science and a business.
“I am photography!”

Please reference this article from a local publication “Bittersweet” about the life of W.A. Lenz.


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