|A SOUTHERN PACIFIC TRAIN SOMEWHERE AROUND CHICO C. 1985 PRINTED AS A BLACK AND WHITE AND THEN COLORED WITH PHOTO OILS AND COLORED PENCILS|
The photograph above is one I took in the mid eighties while I was on a photographic outing. It was likely taken on Kodak T Max film, developed in either D-76 or T Max developer, fixed with Kodak Rapid Fixer, and the print was developed in Kodak Dektol paper developer.
I was not a Kodak loyalist. When I first started dark room work, I almost exclusively used their products in everything from black and white film to color slide film and chemistry. It did not take me long to reject Kodak's black and white papers (with the exception of their "G" surface papers which I used for hand-coloring photographs - like the one above).
My point is that many things have changed during the course of my life. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company is long gone.
This photograph is important to me in that it represents several important parts of my life. My life is valuable to me, but like the Southern Pacific, there will come a day when The Thomas Bethune no longer runs. I suppose, in all honesty, that I still wish to leave a mark and some forms of reference that will remind others that Thomas Bethune was here, and that his life was of some value.
I occasionally return to Bakersfield to visit family. While we are there, I always make several pilgrimages to the shrines of my youth: The site of the Southern Pacific's yard in East Bakersfield; The house I grew up in; the house I owned as a young husband and father; Caliente; The Tehachapi Loop; Tehachapi; Summit and Mojave; EBHS; Mt. Breckenridge; the foothills. All these places are parts of what helped form me as a man, and all of these places have and are changing.
I accept that change is inevitable. I fully get, understand, and embrace that fact. I am not living in the past when I reflect on the past with my blog ramblings. I do draw strength, pride and gratitude for the events that took place in/at the above-mentioned places. I know that who I am is a result of the lessons learned at these and many other places and times.
I hope that the images that I create as an artist carry with them my connections to The Southern Pacific and Kodak. I trust that aspects of Tom as the father, husband, son, grandson, railroader, soldier, photographer, and so on carry through in my expression as an artist.
The above photograph does clearly convey my love of trains and of photography. I think that other not so obvious photographs do so as well without the subject matter being a train.