Robert Cameron 1911-2009
They were neighbors for 40+ years. In 2005 the famous aerial photographer-book publisher Robert Cameron first met Master Photograph Printer-Artist Timothy Hall.
Mr. Cameron was then in his nineties, highly independent, busy working three days a week from his SF office -publishing the highly successful 'ABOVE BOOKS' series. Mr. Cameron still strapped himself into the Bell Helicopter holding onto that very heavy gyro-stabilized Pentax 6x7 Camera. He truly was as his business card stated "Robert Cameron, World's Oldest One-Eyed Aerial Photographer."
( read more about Mr. Tim Hall in next column )->
Knowing that Mr. Cameron was a good friend, golfing buddy and also a competitor of Mr. Ansel Adams (and having worked on both of these Pro Photographers images), Tim Hall's comparative statement on these two photographer greats is worth contemplating:
The two immediately began working together in a race against time. True photo-graphic imaging was phasing out. Supplies of film and processing chemicals were dwindling. And Mr. Cameron was already 94 years old. Tim became Mr. Cameron's eyes in the darkroom producing the following works:
1) The ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNEY (gallery filled 1/3 of S.F. Metreon's ground floor for two year run
2) Limited signed photograph (possibly the best ever taken) of jazz great Louie Armstrong
3) Yet to be displayed: ABOVE EXHIBITION
4) Limited signed portfolio: CameronFolio
Principal: Color3LAB - Robert Cameron Gallery, S.F.
What: Founder/Artist/GM of Color3LAB, S.F.'s last true photographic color lab. Professional services: drum scanning, C-Printing, framing, mounting, laminating, custom finishing service, master composite negatives, film/photo paper developing chemistry software.
Source of start-up capital: Personal funds put up by myself and two brothers. The three in Color3Lab has a dual meaning: three brothers and also the three primary additive colors (RGB) used in photographic print process.
Education background: S.F.S.U. graduate with BA in Music. Artistically I'm very fortunate to have both good ears and good eyes. In my career the eyes won as I moved toward photographic printing. I registered for and was put on the waiting list to study under Ansel Adams. In the meantime, I self studied his program and took a print production position at an established S.F. Photo Lab. The spot did open in Ansel's class and I received the invitation to attend. Since I was already working full time as the Lab Production Manager and guaranteed that there would be a space for me in the next class, I passed on that opportunity. Very unfortunately for him (and for me too) Ansel passed away that next year.
Big picture reason for starting business:
Wanting to do things my way
Most difficult part of decision: Borrowing money
Biggest plus of ownership: Doing things my own way, we built the lab with many production efficiencies. For instance the enlarging rooms were constructed purposefully to limit the amount of walking distance between printing, processing and finishing. The process has changed so much over the years that these efficiencies no longer matter, however back in the 80's and 90's it gave us a distinct advantage.
Biggest drawback: There are just so many hours in every day, and often to get projects completed to my satisfaction, I have to do them myself
Assuming there were enough people (similar to myself) that would be available to work for the lab
Biggest business strength: I am very good at seeing what does and doesn't work in a photograph
Biggest business weakness: Handling money
Biggest risk: Borrowing $750,000 to go digital
Biggest mistake: Putting trust in some individuals that proved to be untrustworthy
Smartest move: Downsizing when necessary and not giving up. A lot of our old business has been lost due to: the current economy, changing technology and the desire by many customers that cheaper price is more important then quality of product. These changes have pretty much eliminated all of our former worthy competitors.
Most challenging task: Running Color3LAB business differently then every other business that I worked at
Favorite task: Making wonderful photographs
Least favorite task: Managing salespeople
Favorite film: The Matrix
Dealing honestly with dishonest people
Source of support in a business crisis:
Focus and perseverance
Key goal yet to achieve: Peace of mind
First move with capital windfall: TBD
Stress Reducers: Good Music
Five year plan: Making photographs that matter
Most admired entrepreneur: Paul Newman
Most interested in meeting: Franz Schubert
Favorite pastimes: Anything with my kids
Automobile: Datsun 510 (1st car)
Favorite book: "Tao Te Ching", Lau Tzu
Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant at the City of 10,000 Buddhas (Talmage/Ukiah, CA)
What is on your iPod: I don’t listen to iPods
Favorite destination: City of 10,000 Buddhas
"The 18 images chosen by Bob to include into his folio of prints are printed onto Kodak Metallic paper. They were printed in the C3Lab darkroom and processed in photographic chemistry. All the images were exposed onto film and none were shot with a digital camera. As analogue prints will become more and more rare as time goes on, this folio of images will become a treasure of the past." Tim Hall
"Bob’s work often evokes a strong emotional response, his black and white capture of Louie Armstrong is extraordinarily good, and although his work is very different in perspective, technically speaking, Bob’s color work is better than Ansel Adams.”
CONCEIVE IT + BELIEVE IT + TAKE ACTION NOW = SUCCESS
For further information and to purchase
Robert Cameron original photographs
call 415-710-6070 or 415-902-6448
NEW YORK TIMES http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/arts/22cameron.html?_r=0
SF CHRONICLE http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Aerial-photographer-Robert-Cameron-dies-3210110.php
CAMERON BOOKS http://cameronbooks.com/cameron-books-2/
CEO: Great Kolor Walnut Creek, CA
Business Focus: Assist Nonprofits with sensible choices in outdoor advertising
What it does:
Evolved from local print shop roots, Great Kolor secures low cost (high profile) outdoor ad space and then prints/installs the finished graphics
Source of start-up capital: Self financed
Education background: C.U.N.Y. Brooklyn College graduate with BA in Social Science
Reason for starting business: The company Gene worked at was purchased and closed in 2005. Great Kolor was born two weeks later. The moral of this story? When one door closes (very often) another will open for you.
Most difficult part of decision: Not difficult--in a sink or swim moment, it's good for you to know that swimming is your sensible option
Biggest plus of ownership: The empowerment of being in charge of your own destiny
Biggest drawback: Negative is the flip side of positive. Being in charge puts responsibility squarely on your shoulders. Business is dependent on your state of mind and business successes and failures are owned by you.
Summer of 2007 an incorrectly spec'd restaurant window graphic was printed, delivered and couldn't install. Although (at the time) a serious failure it caused a major improvement. Going forward every job begins with a one page agreement. This includes the exact specification, production, turnaround time and price commitment. Next there's a sign-off for final art approval. So before any printing moves forward--we (and client) review and sign-off on art and job specification twice. The results? It's been ten+ years and counting of perfect printing.
Biggest business strength: Very fortunate that many clients compliment us with glowing endorsements for reliability, quality and dedication to excellent customer service
Biggest business weakness:
None. Well okay, maybe outreach time efficiency and new business data management can be improved. Fortunately solid referrals continue to deliver a steady stream of new clients and business.
Biggest risk: There really isn’t much risk, Great Kolor is a tight little business
Smartest move: Decision to put resources into organizing a brief and to the point Nonprofit education program. We call it the Not-For-Profit Publicity Workshop. The volunteer venues like ODC Dance, California Historical Society, Mission Cultural Center, SS Jeremiah O'Brien, Robert Cameron’s Environmental Journey in the Metreon were all excellent and feedback from attendees has been terrific.
Favorite task: Aligning clients wants and needs with Great Kolor's capabilities
Least favorite task: Having to say no
Source of support in a business crisis:
My much better half, St. Michelle
Biggest frustration: Commuter traffic
Most challenging task:
Same as favorite task--aligning capabilities with our clients wants and needs
Key goal yet to achieve: Financial stability. For a very short moment it was in hand, then the housing bust cleaned our clock. That's okay, lesson learned and we're climbing back
Miley Cyrus The Climb
Freddie Mercury Somebody To Love
Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World
Inducement to sell: I really enjoy doing this so it would be a substantial buyout to induce selling--although an eight figure proposal would definitely cause me to stop, sit and listen
First move with capital windfall: Once around the world trip on boat and train (just me & the Mrs.)
Most admired entrepreneur: Benjamin Franklin
Most interested in meeting: Napoleon Hill and my parents again
Favorite film: The Lion King
Favorite pastimes: Hiking the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range with my sons
Favorite destination: Mt Evans, Colorado
Favorite book: “The Magic of Thinking Big”,
written by Dr. David J Schwartz
Listening to motivational CD’s in the car
Favorite restaurant: Nordstrom’s Café
Five year plan: Take that world vacation
What is on your iPod: Still don’t have one (remarkable - huh ? : )
P.S: Why not call 415/902-6448 ? and let's begin doing some great work together..
All the Best Always, GK
Copyright Gene Kahn 7/4/2001-2020+ All rights reserved