Just a Book?

October 12, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

When is a book more than just its cover and content?  Read on...

1977 and I was a neophyte photography, lover of wilderness and living in New Jersey, a temporary assignment for a couple of years.  I was absorbing everything I could find about photography.  Our local camera store in Bound Brook, had a nice collection of books.  One title caught my eye.  Wilderness Photography by Boyd Norton.  Wilderness AND Photography in one title?  Perfect.  Boyd Norton?  Never heard of him but the book looked good on the shelf.  I parted with the $7+ and turned a corner in my life.  The book was perfect, perfect for me.  I read it, maybe three times in about two weeks.  "This guy, Norton, knows what he is talking about", kept running thru my head.  I told my wife, "I will meet this guy somehow."  That was 1977.  Fast forward to late 1978.  The company sold the business I was running in New Jersey, moved us to Denver and set me up in the R&D group doing development on new products.  I was putting up photos in my office when my secretary commented that my images were very nice and that the lady who ran the R&D library was married to a photographer.  I didn't give it a second thought except that I knew Boyd Norton lived near Denver.  Could it be?  No, not a chance.  Two days later I was in the library.  I did notice that the lady discussed earlier had a name plate on her desk but it was out of view.  I had to maneuver around the stacks on her desk to get a good look and DAMN!  It said "Barbara Norton"!  NORTON!  Could it be?  I walked up, introduced myself and asked, "Is your husbands name Boyd?"  "Why yes!  Do you know him?"  "No, but I have one of his books and it is absolutely the best book on photography I have ever read and I want to meet him and could we have dinner some time and where do you live and what type of food do you guys like and does he do any teaching and would he even talk to me?"  I am certain I didn't ask all those questions but they were running rampant in my head.  We did eventually meet for dinner at my house a few weeks later.  The following year, I attended one of Boyd's workshops and absolutely grew leaps and bounds in my photographic skills.  That workshop was a true turning point in my life.  I was in tears when the week was over.  I begged my wife to let me go again the following year.  Two kids, a mortgage, cars needing work and tires and I wanted to spend money on a photo workshop?!?!?  Two weeks after the workshop and my wife and I were in the process of figuring out how we could afford another one.  Boyd called.  He actually commented on how much he enjoyed having me work with some of the beginners.  Then, not missing a beat, he asked me to be an assistant at his workshop in Wyoming the following year.  I was floored, almost didn't say anything.  The next year, I joined Boyd in the Snowy Range for a week long workshop.  For the next 12 years we did workshops together in both Wyoming and Colorado catering to clients such as Smithsonian Tours. During those twelve years, Boyd became very busy with international assignments and he really didn't have time for devote to workshops.  Boyd reluctantly had to drop them from his schedule.  I was rather sad but also very busy as my own photo business was quite busy in addition to holding a full time position in tech sales.


What's in a book you ask?  In my case, it was a monumental change in my photographic skills and a switch in my outlook on conservation and life.  Today?  Boyd and I are great friends and are doing workshops together again on an exceptional ranch in Wyoming.  Check us out....


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