‘I am ninety years old. I have nine children, sixty-eight grandchildren, seventy-two great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter. I was a photographer during World War II. When I was thirteen, around 1940, my scoutmaster invited me to watch him print pictures he had taken. I was fascinated so I pulled all the stuff out from under my mother’s staircase and made my own dark room and enlarger. My father was very pleased that I was interested in something. He gave me my first professional camera that he paid several hundred dollars for. It was a 4×5 Speed Graphic. I still have my very first print…it’s of my childhood home over on 2100 South.
I joined the Navy when I was eighteen but I never saw any combat. I was asked to run the ship store’s photo lab. We took twenty-five portraits a day. By the end of 1945, I was on a ship heading for Guam and then to Saipan. When I got there, I was so far away from home…out in the middle of the Pacific, past the international date line. It felt so far away, I thought I’d never come home. There was a photo lab on Saipan that wasn’t being used. So, we put in an order for supplies to run the lab. It had a dark room and an exhaust fan because it would get hot in there. I would photograph my friends in exchange for candy bars.
I found out a few years ago that one of my friends, Ray Ecker, who is now deceased, was the photographer on the first reconnaissance mission of the Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He never publicized it and I was stunned that he’d kept his part of such a moment in history on the down low. I took portraits of men who had been to battle, who defended this country, and who are now gone.
Since then, I’ve planned on doing an autobiography. I’ve photographed over four thousand weddings. I’ve photographed the Utah Senate and the Utah Opera. I always wore a suit and tie when I photographed weddings. I’ve photographed several Utah governors and President Nixon. I’ve had the best mentors and I’ve caught magic by camera for most of my life. I may not have had much of a role in history but I sure photographed a lot of history. It was my passion and I gave it my best. I gave my country my best and I’m still here.’