Large has Other Meanings

A photo friend of mine recently died and it has put me in a mood of sorts. We weren’t close friends, and he was older and had pretty serious health issues. But he was a really nice guy and someone I always thought of as a real treasure of the photo world. He started out shooting for the school newspaper at UW, went to NYC to work for Life Magazine and then back to Seattle to check out the world of advertising. Hell for all I know you may have worked with him. His name is Bob Peterson.

Did a lot of Nike stuff. We worked out at the same gym for a while and would talk while we walked on the tread mills. I recall the day he told me Nike called and wanted to buy all rights to his then old Nike stuff. Made a small fortune. He called me the Infrared King. I called him the world’s largest photographer, but not to his face. I realize now, in his case, that large has other meanings. Once when I wanted to upgrade cameras he allowed me to test drive his new version. I spent the afternoon taking pictures of him with both cameras, as well as my film camera

The last time I saw him was in the fall of 2018 when he was having a book signing. A very cool book of his life’s work. I liked his personal stuff best. We chatted briefly that night and he signed my book and I left. I later looked to see he had signed my book… ”For Mel, my favorite photographer”. I am sure he wrote that a lot that evening, but it felt special none the less. About year ago I wanted to get more copies of the book, but couldn’t find it on Amazon, so I contacted him. I found out he was in assisted living and in poor health, but yes I should come visit and he would give me the family discount on books. The pandemic made visiting impossible, and so it never happened. I am glad I got to test drive his camera.