Monday, August 14, 2017

Interesting Find

I love cameras. As a photographer, the camera isn't just a tool, it's my partner, my coworker, sometimes even a co-conspirator.

I spent the end of last week accompanying a photographer/artist/professor in the field while she made photographs using a field camera. If you don't know what that is, just imagine an 1800's camera, the photographer's head covered in a black hood trying to focus. It's the modern version of that. It uses single sheets of film, two negatives to a film holder, each exposed by pulling a slide out before operating the shutter.

During our three days together, I shot 233 images with my Canon digital camera. She shot about 20 images. Each shot took her at least 5 minutes to set up.

I got to thinking about it, and decided to pull out my great grandfathers old speed graphic camera. It's one of many in my collection, most of which I have never used.

In the 1940's the speed graphic was the standard for press photographers. Most likely the most famous photograph made with a speed graphic camera is Joe Rosenthal's image of the Marines raising the American Flag at Iwo Jima. He would receive a Pulitzer prize for that picture, and it would be the model for the Marine Corp Memorial in Washington DC.

I found grandpa's camera in the back of my closet, covered in a light coat of dust. As I was cleaning it, I found myself wondering about a name scratched into the leather cover on the face of the camera.

Its always been there, it's not a name I have ever associated with any branch of my family. I assumed that grandpa bought the camera used and it was the name of the previous owner.

This morning, on a whim, I typed in the name into an internet search engine. Paul III Tibbets. I thought it weird that the III would be in the middle of the name, if the gentleman was a  Paul Tibbets the third, why put it in between the first and last name. Turns out, it could be a W not III. If so, this just got really interesting.

General Paul W. Tibbets Jr. was the pilot of the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945 when they dropped the atomic bomb, code-named little boy on the city. It was the first time such a weapon was used.
Paul Tibbits name scratched into the leather case of my great grandfathers camera. 

I may never find the answer, but I love the question.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I heard back from Gen Paul Tibbits III, he thinks it might have been his grandpa's