Monday, March 03, 2014

Local Photographer I wish I knew... Stanley C. Livingston

On Saturday, my buddy Marc Akemann and I  were alerted to a local estate sale that featured some darkroom equipment.  Before I went over, I looked up the sale online, and sure enough, amidst all the other things in the house, was a darkroom and a fridge FILLED with film.  I hadn't heard of anyone recently  passing away that I knew, which is perhaps why this sale was a surprise.  We went over and in the span of two days bought a large amount of film and some books and other things.  It turns out that the house belonged to  Stanley C. Livingston, a local photographer that passed away suddenly in the fall of 2010.  I did some looking up of Mr. Livingston and found out that he was a professional photographer of note that was the author of a book titled Blues in Black and White. Unfortunately, Stanley died of a heart attack in 2010, the year the book was published.  I didn't know any of this before I went to the sale, and the walls of the house had many of his photographs from various parts of his career, which spanned the 1970s - 2010.  based upon what we found there, it was obvious that Ann Arbor was a hotbed of photographic creativity in the late 70s to mid-1980s.  There was a quarterly tabloid-sized publication called Photoworks, that Marc found a complete set of at the sale, and I look forward to perusing the pages of those issues.

In talking to the folks running the estate sale, I learned that Stanley's extensive and expensive gear had been sold several years ago, but the downstairs and basement was filled with all the types of things any working pro would have acquired over the years -- backdrops, seamless rolls, matting and framing supplies, chemicals, props, darkroom equipment...and film.  I ended up spending about $150 on film - much of it expired, but all refrigerated.   I was pleased to score DX-coded versions of Panatomic-X, as well as Kodak HIE, Konica 720 IR (120) film, tons of Fuji  Reala, Kodak Vericolor II and III, T-max, and Tri-X, as well as many other films in 120 and 35mm and 127!

While we were certainly happy to benefit from the film score, it was hard not to wonder about the photographer, and what he was like.  I did a search, and there were many really nice testimonials on a web page where he had an obituary.  He was an Ann arbor townie, and widely respected for his images of the blues and jazz musicians.  He also loved photographing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and had a cottage in the Keweenaw.  He sounded like someone that was a good mentor, and probably was friends with Jeff Lamb who died 2 years ago.   By all accounts Stanley C. Livingston was great guy and photographer, that died too early.

So, I will use much of the film that I bought, and am glad that it didn't go into a dumpster.  Those rolls of Panatomic-X are going to be shot by me, thanks to you, Stanley.

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