Monday, November 4, 2013

Bob Cherveny

I was out scouting props and locations for a shoot I had coming up when I stumbled upon this
beautiful 1949 Chrysler Royal sitting in a gravel lot next to an old cinderblock building down in
the industrial part of town. Kinda caught it in my rear-view mirror so decided to circle back 
to locate it's owner in the next day or so. When I returned the Chrysler was gone, but there
seemed to be some life in that old building so I went over and poked my nose inside and found
Bob Cherveny hustling around.  He gave me a friendly greeting and I found out that the '49 was
his. He was glad to allow me to use it in one of my shots, but I realized that the real shots were
right there in his machine shop.

Bob is an automotive machinist and has been working in this building for 35 years.
Technically he's retired, he tells me, but still working. Loves what he does. The long time
accumulation of tools and machinery was a beautiful visual, but what really had my attention
was the smell of grease and metal. Reminded me of my Grandfathers machine shop out back of
his house when I was growing up. Only thing missing was the wonderful smell of cigar smoke.
This kind of photography is the gold standard for me because of the grit and texture, but also
the story of the Americas worker who is actually still making things or provide a service
that people need. My Dad was a grocer when I was growing up and my affinities lie with 
the workers that make this nation work. Always most comfortable in this environment.   

I asked and Bob and he consented to allow me to come by and shoot him and I basically just 
followed him around as he worked and shot using the beautiful north light streaming in from his
well placed windows. A photographers dream. I had to push my ISO a bit to 200 and handheld a     
pretty slow shutter to allow for a bit of depth of field. Probably about a 15th of a second at 
about f-8. I just waited for that lull in his movement and wedged myself into or up against 
something solid to still the camera. I find myself shooting this way quite a bit when I want a bit 
of spontaneity. Especially when I'm imposing myself on someones time and want to be

I loved the shots from out in his shop because they rounded out his story, but knew I had to come 
away with something of Bob working at his desk. This was the real story. This was a space
that has been decorated with thirty five years of running his business and if it weren't for the 
answering machine and telephone in the foreground, the setting might have been from 1949 as well.
Truly timeless. 
From this place, Bob has taken care of the needs of his clients, 
 community and his family. And without much ceremony. Just good work for a fair price.

As for the '49 Chrysler Royal ... watch for our next blog.

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