Saturday, April 16, 2011

In Memoriam

Woodbury, Connecticut

It may be silly to become emotionally attached to inanimate objects—things—but photographers can get pretty emotional about cameras or even processes, and lots of people become very attached to their cars. Cameras and cars are both pretty animate objects, anyway.

Last week it became clear something was very wrong with Brunhilde, my 1997 Chevy pickup truck. The rear shocks were non-functional, maybe broken. Up on the lift, the mechanics found that the brackets that mounted the shocks to the frame had rotted away—and so had the section of frame they attach to. Fourteen winters in southern New England, and especially the highly corrosive road "salt" the state switched to five or six years back, had taken their toll. There must have been a sort of cascade of corrosion this past winter, rotting out the entire rear half of the frame. Repair is not feasible. The engine still runs great, too bad I don't have a boat to put it in.


For fourteen years, and very nearly a quarter of a million miles, this truck has in a sense been my most important piece of photographic equipment. All my pictures over that time were made after driving somewhere in the truck. Whether working with a tiny digital capture camera, a 12x20-inch banquet camera, or anything in between, the cameras and I didn't get anywhere to take pictures without the truck. End of an era around here.

3 comments:

Markus Spring said...

Too bad to hear this, Carl. It's true, mobility for a working photographer nowadays is a must, not an option. I hope you find a reasonable replacement.

Oh yes, and the name "Brunhilde" was an excellent choice: a strong lady with a lot of energy - as far as I know, the first lady with that name was a warrior-queen.

Martina said...

Oh noooo, not Brunhilde!

Carl said...

Martina and Markus, I'm afraid it's true. Just before the trip where I realized the rear suspension had gone out of control, I had climbed into the cargo bed to deal with some stuff in there, and on my way in I had a subliminal sense that the rear step-bumper—which is rated to pull a 5,000 pound trailer on a simple ball hitch—felt, well, springy. That should have set off more strenuous alarm bells in my head. The cascade of metal corrosion reaches from the back of the cab to the rear bumper. I'll donate her to the local public radio station. A service will haul her away and the station should see some value from salvage, like from the rear tires that are less than a year old, and have 40,000 miles of life in them, if someone is still running a truck they fit. I'm gonna miss her.