Friday, October 19

Friday, October 12

Spider the Stranger

In 2004 I was working at a restaurant called Mac's Cafe in Rochester, MN. I was in my senior year in high school at Studio Academy High School for the Arts and was very focused in photography.  I was waitressing at the cafe one Summer day and walked outside with a pot of coffee in each hand. I spotted a Leica hanging around a strange man's neck. He was walking in my direction and I stopped and dropped my jaw a little and bluntly asked "Is that a Leica?". After chatting for 20 minutes or so about photography the man asked for my contact information after a little hesitation I wrote down my mailing address. Some time passed and one day in the mail I received a package from him. Recently I came across the letter, contents, and what was left of the film.

  • A letter
  • 16 rolls of 3 different kinds of film
  • Envelopes addressed and marked with postage to a film processing facility
  • One beautiful official NASA patch

The letter reads:

August 12, 2004
Terrence Pattinson (spider)
Houston, TX

Kelsey Johnston
125 2nd St. SE
Plainview, MN 55964

Hi Kelsey,

It was great to meet you in Rochester and to talk a bit about photography. That's a nice shot of me that you made. My brother liked the image so much that he wants me to print it for him.

I have enclosed some films for you to try. You are probably quite familiar with them. TriX is conventional black and white. IIford XP-2 is C41 process B&W. The Velvia is slide film. I enclosed some prepaid mailers for the Velvia. I had my labels on them and when I pulled the labels off it left a gummy mess, so I made some labels for you and stuck them on.

The films and mailers are a gift because you are interested in photography and will have some fun with them. Please accept them for the gift that they are. There is no need to reciprocate in any way.

I get my supplies from B&H Photo in New York. They are about the cheapest and service is fast. I order off their web site.

You might want to try C41 in your home darkroom. It's easy ... not much more difficult than black and white. The essential thing is accurate temperature control and meticulous attention to time/temperature. I use the Paterson one liter C41 kits that I get from B&H. Be sure to use distilled water for your C41 (as well as black and white).

My email address is Drop a note, if you have a chance. Make sure that you say something in the subject line so that I know it's from you and not junk email.
I am not a pro ... photography is just a hobby for me. I am a retired NASA flight surgeon.
Best regards,