1990

1989

welcome

We were getting more and more business from central Europe including a crack at a big job for Mercedes. With considerable encouragement from Jan Robbrechts, Managing Director of Burson-Marsteller, Brussels, we moved there. We set up in a five-story town house just off Avenue Louise at Rue du Magistrat 39... around the corner from Jan. It lasted about half a year, but in the run-up to the first Gulf War, European business just stopped cold... and so did we.

1990

brussels

The dice I was playing with were heavy as I had borrowed to the hilt to create an opulent enigma...a lavish display of ego. In the end, Wolfgang Lens of Comm-Tec “helped,” buying virtually all the AV gear for about 10 cents on the dollar. During this, a very pissed-off Elisabeth was in Sweden setting up house with the owner of the salon below the apartment, at Hornsgatan 100. Things between John and I rapidly fell apart, too, and the undercurrents were not nice. Conny was confused.

1990

60

The grid in the Brussels studio was massive... 80 projectors driven by four AVL Genesis computers. Conny Bergqvist, a talented cohort of John’s, became his assistant and came with us to Brussels, primarily on camera. There’s a Swedish expression, “expert overalt,” which is apt for John. His mastery over things technical was inspiring. We met when I saw his portfolio in Melbourne and was floored by what I saw... he had even shot bullets (pun intended). I was suitably impressed.

1990

70

John Emms and Conny Bergqvist kept the basement darkroom of the Brussels studio like a hospital zone.

1990

penthouse

When I was growing up, in Douglaston, my room was the attic; and I loved it because it was an escape zone. It felt that way in Brussels, too, especially towards the end... my top-floor, 2-level apartment was a private world. I’ve always had trouble with social situations; which is ironic as I am always battling the ennui of loneliness. But it helps explain my love of the darkroom and all things phantasmagoric... of “make believe.”

1990

cook

In a promotional picture, I blended my AV vocation and culinary avocation. Posing as a chef and chopping slides (left) while roasting the Mediatech programming award (on the right).

1991

av expo

In an address at an AV Expo event in Stockholm, I traced the demise of multi-image in the early 90’s. Slide rigs were consigned to the scrap heap. Video and PowerPoint took over for a decade of “in the box” shows. (see Shows/Dataton for Keynote presentation)

1991

hornsgaten

The studio in Stockholm was on Hornsgatan (right) a broad major boulevard across the island of Sõdermalm (South Island), which was considered the "artists' island." We were at #100 (left) and occupied the entire 1st floor (not ground floor).

1991

architecture

Memorable features of the Hornsgatan studio in Sweden were the "Kakel Ugnar" which means "ceramic ovens." In the olden days, the kakel ugnar burned wood or coal and, in combination with building walls 18-inches thick, kept everyone toasty (while the good Swedish snaps made them toasted).

1991

tour

Since I didn't have a Maron camera anymore, I demolished the walls and expanded the kitchen into what was once the camera room (small pix). It was easy to see that my culinary avocation was taking over... that my "collectioneering" was out of control. Ironically, so was my anorexia.

1991

tour

The demise of the Brussels studio left me burned out on AV. I wanted a change and the food business looked sweet. Like so many before me, I thought I could make a small fortune in the restaurant business... and like them I did, by starting with a larger fortune. When I moved to Vashon Island this entire kitchen was reinstalled in the house there and become the test kitchen for "Fork Inn The Road" where my culinary fate met its match.

1991

kitchen

I was reading every cookbook I could get my hands on. I wanted to learn everything. Besides pots and pans and gadgets, I started collecting odd and rare spices and flavorings. The cabinets in the upper right reveal the extent of the collection, which grew substantially once I arrived on Vashon Island and had "room to move."

1991

edit room

In the new studio, what had been the editing room (smallest picture) became a lounge. My travels afforded many opportunities to import specialty liquors into Sweden, so the bar was well stocked. And there was plenty of space to show off my collection of Swedish crystal objects. All my paintings, incidentally, were made my Chris McDevitt.

1991

pool room

The former programming room (smallest pix) became the billiards room. The table once belonged to Torre Sandell, the famous Swedish industrial filmmaker whose Sandell Films AB created innumerable world-class films. I met Torre through Bjorn Ericstam, a close collaborator. Torre told me that he and the King of Sweden had played on that table. He would not say who won.

1991

bedroom

When I got back to Stockholm, after the Brussels studio crashed, life was different and so was the studio. It was back to only half the first floor... my original space. What had been the darkroom with the crystal chandelier "safelight" was now my bedroom.

1991

apprentice

My interest in cooking was gathering steam. I got an apprentice job at Vetebullen Konditori, down the street from the studio. I washed dishes for the opportunity to watch their bakers at work preparing designer breads and rolls. Soon I was ready to move on... I wanted to learn patisserie. They put me in touch with Stephan Petersson, who took me under his wing... uhhh, apron.

1991

stefan

Stephan Petersson was a rising star when I met him. He and a partner were taking over the bakery at Stockholm's prestigious NK department store. His specialty was chocolate and at Christmas he used to make 20-foot-wide fantasyland window displays with Chocolate Mountains, villages, castles, dragons and elves. When I left Sweden he met me at the airport and gave me a 2-foot-high chocolate dragon… some carry-on!

1991

lena

Stephan's wife Lena Petersson worked the counter at NK's confections department, while Stephan ran the bakery, and his partner handled the business. It was a productive combination that went on to fame in scores of international competitions.

1991

bakery

Stephan Petersson let me help out in the NK bakery... I got as far as chocolate mousse before returning to the States in 1992. That daily recipe started with the cracking of 350 eggs.... My "work" with Stephan whet my appetite for becoming a professional in the food industry and even while in Stockholm I was looking for a restaurant to take over. However, that flight of fantasy would have to wait until I reached Vashon Island.

1991

saab

My last Saab show and the one that paid my way back to the States after the fallen Brussels studio had left me broke (again). With help from Filip Jarnehag and Juki Nakamura, I produced this 60-projector, semicircular slide background to a fancy turntable designed and built by the genius Lars Sundquist. It was a nice production to have as a swan song of sorts.

1991

saab

This was the smaller 24-projector version of the Saab 9000 CS show that went to Japan for the Tokyo International Motor Show. The smaller footprint of the stand didn't allow for Lars Sunquists turntable or the 60-projector, 180-degree version of the show. While in Japan, picked-up a complete set of Japanese dishes, knives and cookware (of course).

 

1992

filip

Filip Jarnehag has stuck with me through thick and thin, always ready to help in whatever way was needed. Friend to the end, he organized a little party just before I departed, bless his heart.

1992

farewell

A last look down Hornsgatan the evening before leaving... April 28, 1992.

1992

mesney

Giving up my Saab was hard to do. It wouldn't meet US spec without some major investments and money was in kind'a tight supply. No matter, almost immediately after arriving on Vashon Island the phone rang and Rick Sorgell, former partner in Sorgell-Lee Studios, gave me an around-the-country Isuzu shoot. So much for brand loyalty....

1992

izuzu

This really happened: After flying from Sweden to Seattle, upon arriving at the totally empty house on Vashon Island, the phone rings. There is nothing else there except me and the suitcases and the phone... that was ringing. It was Rick Sorgel and he was hiring me to drive around the USA shooting for Isuzu. Perfect: a job to occupy me while the house is being renovated, and a car (I need a car).

1992

doug

I was still well branded and waving the Incredible flag when I landed on Vashon's shores. Craig Martin from Boeing, a close friend of Bob Peterson's at the time, introduced me to Doug Ethridge of Avcon in Seattle. We began a symbiotic affiliation that lasted several years during which time Avcon was like a free-lance production department. Monte Cline and Scott Maslowski ran the show.

1992

moving

It took me only two months to pack for the voyage back to America. There had been a lot of practice starting with the move from New York to Hawaii, and then from Hawaii to Sweden... and Sweden to Brussels (round trip).

1992

moving

When I moved back from Brussels, the gear that I still had was stored at Mex Film's studio in Stockholms Hamn. Mats Erixon also allowed me to cram an office in there, too, when I could no longer afford the rent I was paying Torre Sandell for digs on the fashionable side of town.

1992

truck

The container truck was so heavy it had to wait for high tide to take the ferry.

1992

moving

The container truck did not have an easy time of it as the final ascent to the house is up a rather steep 500-foot dirt road initially through woods. Fortunately, I had a machete.

1992

moving

Simultaneously, I shipped back everything that had been in storage in Hawaii for the last decade and a half. The 20-foot container was so densely packed it couldn't get up the hill without a push. At the Vashon house, for the first time, all the shit from everywhere was in the same place at the same time... the accumulations of three different lives.

1992

truck

The combined weight of all the freight was 120,000 pounds and the volume equal to three 20-foot containers...3,840 cubic feet. I almost couldn't believe when it didn't all fit inside the 3,200-square-foot house. Seems my calculations were a bit shy on "room to move."

1992

house

The original house was 2000 square feet, which was expanded to 3,200 feet primarily by expanding the "sun room" and enclosing a car-port-style-attached garage.

1992

house

On the north end, the original attached carport was enclosed to create a storage room. Then a new carport was erected.

1992

building

On the south end the sunroom was ripped off so a proper foundation could be poured for the "warehouse."

1992

house

The resulting "warehouse" blends in perfectly with the neighborhood, don't you think?

1992

house

Nestor Construction was the contractor, working with Fritz Amaluxen, an architect who helped us bring the original drawings up to par (the original owner never finished the house). The interiors of the warehouse remained unfinished during the first two years as I gradually unpacked all the boxes. Then the space was converted into a studio.

1992

view

The property faces west with a view of the Olympic Mountains.

1992

winter

This house belongs to my neighbors Bea & Tom Lorentzen. The new neighborhood was/is idyllic, truly... once you get there... and if you stay there. The proverbial "rub" is the ferry... which is also what keeps it "idyllic" (which is why it is a "rub" and not simply a problem). Trying to run a business from there was very "trying." Once again, no market research... just another Aquarian leap of faith. (Pix of me by Bob Peterson)

1993

hita

Hita Von Mende climbed into my life during the first summer on Vashon. She offered to take me to the annual Strawberry Festival, a big island event. We hit it off… she's a fellow Aquarian, so there was a natural affinity… and an affinity for the natural. We did a lot of hiking together through the Olympic and Cascade Mountains… magic moments.

1993

malaysia airlines

I started work for Malaysia Airlines, which carried forward three years. They already had bazillions of touristy pictures but they were light on what they do... run an airline. They couldn't believe how much gear I hauled. We flew all over the country shooting the story of the national airline serving its people.

1993

doug

Lew Price from Entreprises de la Batterie in Quebec brought me in as a consultant on a visitors center production about the city's history. It was a hugely ambitious show with extravagantly produced visuals featuring costumed actors, props and scenery. The sound track was equally elaborate. I tried to snag the 60-projector Saab rig I had left behind in Sweden, but Kjell Gustafsson, at AV Huset, had already sold the gear.

1993

hiking

It was clear skies for a while and I could see forever, seemingly. Making it to the summit of Mount St. Helens was a new kind of accomplishment for me... I'd never really been very physical before but I had quit smoking a few years earlier, was running, and feeling alive for the first time. Vashon's purpose came to be the restoration of health. Hita Von Mende figured into that in many important ways... hiking being one of them.

1993

vashon

A visit to Vashon Island begins with a journey across Puget Sound aboard one of three Washington State Ferries that land there. It's a fifteen-minute ride from West Seattle's Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal... and there's a passenger only boat that leaves from Pier 50 in downtown Seattle, taking about 30 minutes for the trip.

1993

home

About a year after the move in I was out of boxes and the new studio was basically functional.

1993

bedroom

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Master bedroom.

1993

pool

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Pool room and awards gallery.

1993

view

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Abstract view westerly through crystal object.

1993

darkroom

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Darkroom... that's the same enlarger I bought when I was 14… talk about quality products that last.

1993

guestroom

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Guestroom.

1993

kitchen

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Kitchen... replaced the original living room.

1993

office

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Office and slide archive (the white boxes are rolling slide files).

1993

lounge

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Lounge and music room.

1993

dining

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Dining area ...part of lounge.

1993

studio

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Studio... doubled as ping pong room

1993

porch

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Porch dining area near sunset.

1993

bar

Tour of original Vashon Island studio: Bar features Chinese shave-ice machine (left).

1993

with hita

Portrait by Hita Von Mende taken on our hike to Third Beach on the Washington Coast with Ann Spiers and her son.

1994

malaysia

Kenneth Cheung of AVI in Hong Kong recommended me to Thomas Leung, a producer in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia, and he introduced me to Saadah Mahmood at Malaysia Airlines. For the next two years I was a commuter between Seattle and Malaysia.

1994

malaysia

Malaysia afforded an opportunity to search for family roots. Way back when, one of the Mesney's traveled to the Orient from the Channel Islands (in the English Channel west of Normandy, France)... he never returned. He settled in Shanghai, worked for the Emperor, made a family, and became the "Chinese Mesney." Another one went to Borneo as a missionary and private chaplain to the Rajah of Sarawac. I have family in Singapore & Malaysia as a result. Maybe that's why I like to cook Asian style.

1994

malaysia

The keystone job for Malaysia Airlines was the production of an International Photo Library. It was a resource for their offices and agencies around the world. They already had a substantial library but it was a mismanaged, out-of-order, hodge-podge. By judiciously but ruthlessly editing, and adding my own shots where necessary to flesh out weak categories, a complete picture of Malaysia and their airline was assembled.

1994

show

"Malaysia ...Fantasia" was a 30-projector multi-image show produced for Malaysia Airlines in conjunction with the Malaysia Tourist Promotion Board (MTPB). The show served as a backdrop for a team of dancers and performers who toured major cities and performed at dinner shows attended by travel agents.

1994

trip

Hita and I tied a vacation to one of my photo trips to Malaysia and we went to Sipadan Island to dive this legendary site. You can walk around the island in15 minutes... it is that small. Notice how the coral reef cuts in on the left side? If you step off the beach there it is 2 kilometers straight down... what they call "wall" diving.

1994

malysia

Most of the photography I did for Malaysia Airlines was more "corporate" in nature. Over the years I got to be known as a "sheet metal man" in the photo trade... it all started with cars and airplanes and branched into corporate industrial.

1994

photos

BSB Malaysia, the Airline's ad agency, coordinated my activities. I worked closely with Bob Vines (upper left) and Lye Kin Fong (lower right) and got to be good friends with the creative team, with whom I traveled with for five weeks in India.

1995

india

In the company of five of my new friends from Malaysia, we toured Rajahstan, India for five weeks. Lye Kin Fong organized the trip and hired Narbdeshwar "Tar" Pandey as our personal guide and chauffeur. To this day Tar and I still trade cards and letters... a great guide.

1995

india

Narbdeshwar "Tar" Pandey was our personal guide during our five weeks in Rajahsthan, India. He told us all not to buy anything until he said so. But I couldn't resist. I bought a statuette of Gnesha and got scolded by Tar. Two days later he brings us to the motherload of all Indian artifacts... the place where the antiques are made. There, after considerable bartering, I was able to trade my little Gnesha (and some cash) for a super-sized one. Tar also arranged real saffron for US $50 per ounce.

1995

dream

My restaurant dream was very much alive and I befriended the owners and staff of Bangles Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. They let me hang out in the kitchen and learn the techniques of Northern Indian quisine. I learned that when most Indian-food cookbooks say to add a teaspoon or a tablespoon of something, a half a cup is more like it.

1995

cooking

Thompson Hon taught me some secrets of Chinese cooking at his family's Soo Kee Mei restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We talked about him coming to Seattle to work with me when I opened a restaurant. But when Malaysia Airlines changed ownership and the work stopped, so did my visits to KL and my contact with the Hons.

1995

cake

My love of patisserie blossomed in the new, 600-square-foot kitchen at the Vashon studio. This cake was made for Avcon's Christmas party... a marzipan-coated fruit cake with sugar holly and poinsettia. Doug Ethridge, Avcon's founder, was a lot like me… maybe too much so, We tried to collaborate but it only went so far. Guys like us do better on our own.

1994

thailand

Hita Von Mende and I visited Thailand. We went to Chang Mai and beyond, staying on the banks of the Mekong River at the Mut Mee Inn. Hita is a painter and so for me was an ideal travel companion as we both saw things in a visual framework... searching for icons. Few realize that the photographer or painter isn't really "there" ...they are documenting... recording imagery for later processing... imagining what they will do with what they see.

1994

travel

A possible problem about travelling with a fellow artist happens when one is consistently "finished" before the other. But that seldom happened with Hita because she was a good sketch artist and fast as a result. Still, there are pictures everywhere... from the sublime to the mundane. Painters, illustrators and shooters are "cursed" by never being able to turn off their eyes... their minds... some people hear voices... we see pictures.

1994

travel

We went to Bangkok, of course. There we met up with another old colleague from AMI days, Chusak Voraphitak. He told us that he had a contract from the government to put digital pictures onto peoples' drivers (and other) licenses. At the time I thought to myself: sounds boring, wouldn't you rather make slide shows? Of course, by now he's probably on his third Rolls Royce.

1995

autralia

Somehow, in the middle of the entire Forking restaurant trauma, Hita and I escaped to Oceania for a two-week get-away. We had seen the film "Priscilla, Queenof the Desert" and made that hotel our primary destination.

1995

australia

Hita and I visited Lindsay Rodda in Melbourne before heading up to Sydney on our way to New Zealand. Lindsay introduced me to a close friend that ran a local restaurant and was also the chef. They tried to tell me about the realities of the business and pointed out a few things I might want to consider... and I should have heeded their advice.

 

1995

travel

As an ex-Camel smoker, who could resist a photo-op like this? Taken by Hita somewhere in the Australian outback.

1995

travel

The decision to open a restaurant had been made and to "practice" I flew to Denver and helped Hita's late twin brother, Aki Von Mende, open the Cafe Berlin. We built it together from scratch, and I helped him usher all the paperwork through the health authorities. Aki had a lot of restaurant experience as he had run the Sundance Cafe in Nederland, Colorado, successfully for many years before selling it to his daughter.

1995

cafe

Hita Von Mende did all the murals for the restaurant. They were fashioned after the splendor of pre-war Germany and the Marlene Dietricht era. As the name suggests, the restaurant featured authentic German quisine.

1995

datatron

In the 90’s Dataton published a magazine featuring case studies about major AV productions. I was a contributor of “op-ed” pieces about the state of the art and industry. Even though I was no longer in Sweden, I stayed close with Dataton.

1995

restaurant

The story of Fork Inn The Road's debacle begins when I located a property for the restaurant... an old Mexican joint called Cafe Del Sol located right next to the ferry dock. It was the only waterfront restaurant on the Island and I wondered why was such a dumpy old place. I should have done a little market research. Instead, I enlisted Hita Von Mende as a partner and we took an Olympian leap of faith into the black hole of retauranteering.

1995

opening

Before dawn on May 5th -- Mexican Independence Day -- we pulled the string that turned on our Costco "Open" signed and that was it... Fork Inn The Road was open for business. It wasn't long before the sign went out.

1995

restaurant

The place was called Fork Inn The Road. It was an upscale international fusion quisine. We opened on May 5th... Mexican Independence Day... "liberating" the old Mexican joint. It opened to great crowds and we even had trouble keeping up with the demand. But when the summer people went home it was a bust. Dave Nestor (upper left) was in charge of the renovations and he's smiling 'cause they all got paid. Hita's son, Jesse Johnson, helped me with a lot more than pouring Champagne on opening day.

1995

opening

A local artist, Mark Bennigan of Chinook Studio, made the giant fork... 16-feet-high. Some locals complained, because you weren't supposed to have big signs on Vashon. But I quickly pointed out that is was an objet d'art made by a local artist and that shut 'em up. It became the landmark it was supposed to be. People took pix of each other with it. The big fork now hangs on the facade of Dick's Restaurant Supply on First Avenue South in Seattle... a fitting place as Dick's was my favorite store for a while.

1995

property

The property included a house and four apartments, so the idea was to have a little by-the-sea hotel with a "destination" restaurant attached... right by the ferry. This doesn't make sense?

1995

jewel

On a moonlit summer evening the place stood out like a jewel bedecked in about 5,000 fairy lights. It was about as romantic as it gets. Hita had done a stellar job painting and decorating the interior. We jokingly called it "Tahitian Whorehouse" for it's incredibly saturated tropical colors in stucco. That, plus a couple of her giant paintings… Magic. The kitchen looked good, too. It should have... it was all new.

1995

next

It always comes down to the bottom line... and that showed that we were losing altitude. One night shortly after opening the place was so packed that the kitchen became an inferno machine that just couldn't keep up. It was the kind of moment that becomes indelibly etched into your brain. From that point forward, my dream became a nightmare.

1995

filip

When it became apparent that Fork Inn the Road was sinking, I went back to the only way I knew how to make money… slide shows. Filip Jarnehag was there to help with some work on a multi-image show for Wärtsilla of Finland through Christine and Bo Stroman. Doing that job made me realize that I had really "forked" myself and had to do something.

1995

doug

Thanks to Filip Jarnehag I was back in familiar territory. The relief I felt being away from Fork Inn the Road was intense. I knew that I had turned the wrong way at the career-path fork.

1995

sweden

Filip Jarnehag and I produced two shows that summer under the Slidecom AB banner. The first was for the Finnish diesel manufacturer Wärtsilla... that offered one of my favorite rides, the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki.

1995

poland

After the Wärsilla show I took the ferry from Nykõping, Sweden, to Gdansk, Poland. I wanted to see and photograph this well-preserved medieval city. Near the reception desk a young lady caught my eye. She introduced herself as Anna Raus. She helped me with some travel details and some translation work (the Polish ferry crew's English wasn't great). She gave me her father's card and told me to call if I got into a jam. Next Christmas, I received a card from her and wrote back... we became pen pals.

1995

poland

In the irony department: having just met Anna aboard the ferry, I found myself traveling to the city where Anna went to school but in search of Hita Von Mende's roots (she was born there during W.W.II as her fanily escaped Germany). My heart wasn't in that search... I knew that my days with Hita were numbered.

1995

scania

Filip and I also produced a launch show for the Scania Omni City. Rolf Teljeby (upper left) and Max Bjurhem (upper right) were loyal clients for whom I had produced many shows in the past during the decade I lived in Stockholm. It was a sizeable piece of business, too, which brought an infusion of funds at a time sorely needed to pay the Forking bills back on Vashon Island.

1995

Jõrgen

Jõrgen Hjelte (sitting on his father, Kurt Hjelte's lap) helped out on the Scania Omni City show. It was his father, Kurt, who had brought me to Sweden 12 years earlier. Kurt is on my top 10 list of people too clever for their own good. It was great to visit their home again. The first time was at an AVC Christmas party during my first winter in Sweden. Kurt's partner, Sven Lidbeck, started feeding me scotch whiskey in the sauna. I got so drunk I was running around in the snow stark naked... and that's not all....

1995

rick

Rick Pedolsky is another guy on my top ten list of people too clever for their own good. We met in AVC days. He was one of the first American freelancers that Kurt and Sven imported to work as producer-teachers. Rick and I became colleagues at arms and developed a strong friendship. Seeing Rick and his wife, Cilla Pedolsky, at their summer "stuga" in the archipelago islands made my heart yearn to be back in Sweden again. But I had other fish to fry.

1995

lars

That summer also brought a reunion with Lars Einar. He's an Aquarian, too, so we both inherently "understand" one another. I hadn't seen Lars for a long time because he had retired from Saab (where he had been Marketing Director) just after the launch of the 9000 CD in Nice, France, in 1988. His mission was done. He had helped transform the company from making Swedish "folkswagons" to a serious competitor to BMW. It was seven years later but it seemed like just seven days.

1996

anna

Summer drew Anna Raus back to Stockholm as well, she to continue her Swedish lessons. We got to know each other better and our relationship grew. I invited her to visit me in Seattle and she did.

1996

anna

Anna Raus visited Seattle the first time around Thanksgiving. It was a short trip as she was still in school. But she saw all the sites... the Art Museum (left) and Pike Market (right)... and we visited local colleges to investigate possible schooling in the States.

1996

anna

Anna Raus visited Seattle again later that year. There was a terrific snowstorm, which knocked out the power and water for three days. Anna melted snow on the wood stove to have a bath. While she was collecting the snow she joked: "Welcome to America... The land of luxury."

1996

anna

During that winter visit we went for a walk by the seashore. Little did either of us suspect at the time that this very spot would be the location of our marriage ceremony in only a year and a half.

1996

mesney

Informal portrait by Michael McLain in Stockholm. Elisabeth Ivarsson was working at PIR a company focused on the development of new-media education tools. They were using a lot of Director to do the job. Elisabeth convinced them to have me shoot the storyboards since I was an expert stop-frame-animation shooter from my slide-show animation days. Thus I came to rent McLain's Studio to shoot in for a fortnight. The work in Sweden provided an opportunity for Anna and I to see each other again.

1996

geof

Geoff Levin sweetened a song I had written for Scania -- called "The Power of Scania" -- which became the company's anthem. It was decided to use the same theme for the launch of the Scania Omni City.

1996

omnicity

Some happy snaps taken while rehearsing the Scania OmniCity show. Max Bjurhem, Marie Soderman (talent coordinator) with Hakan Harrysson (Svensk Ide & Expo AB) in the lower left photo; Tommy Lund and Mats Jonsson (client side), in the center pix; Filip Jarnehag, my co producer, together with Rolf Teljeby (da boss, client side).

1996

omnicity

For the launch of Scania's Omni City bus, the Wallenburg Museum was decked out as an international cabaret and the new bus was the star of the show. It floated (by using compressed air) and was easily moved about at the push of a hand. From inside emerged dance acts from the 22 European countries where the bus will be sold. 30 slide projectors left and right of the bus showed supporting imagery.

1996

omni city

The new Omni City was presented with a multi-image slide show at a press conference held at Scania's Marcus Wallenburg Museum. In typical Scania fashion, guests were treated to a full day program including press briefing, lunch, test rides, banquet and cabaret show. The multi-image show was also transferred into video for mass distribution (remember... it was the 90's).

1996

omni city

Here are some of the team players for the Scania Omni City bus launch show. Mats Schylstrõm (above) from Graffiti Reklam, the ad agency, as well as Kerstin Lindstrõm, Lars Andersson (left, standing) Max Bjurhem (left, seated); Claes Nyberg (above, right); Lars Linden and Lars Tengelin (right, with Vesna Filipovic).

1997

poland

At the end of the summer, before the Scania Omni City show was finished, Anna returned to Poznan to continue her studies in business school. Right after the show, we rendezvoused in Gdansk. Unlike my first trip there, which had been in the height of summer tourism, the cold, grey autumn weather seemed perfectly suited to the look and feel of this well-restored medieval treasure.

1997

rope

We needed some rope, but there's no Home Depot in Gdansk... at least downtown. So we ended up in this fabulous market that had all sorts of Polish food delicacies... and that is no oxymoron, believe me.

1997

anna

I went to Poland and lived with Anna in Poznan where she shared a flat with two other students. One of them also had a boy friend... so it was a full house. We lived in Anna's room and shared the facilities with the others. Mostly it worked. The most patient person was the "other Anna" pictured here with Anna Raus on the right. My "project du moment" was an international chef's dictionary, which would cross translate all-important culinary words into any language... what better place to do that than Poland?

1997

raus family

The Raus family welcomed me into their home. At first I was some kind of novelty but they pretty rapidly caught on that I was serious about everything. Perhaps there was a bit of rivalry between brother Kristofer and I. My father used to refer to good people as "salt of the Earth." That would well describe the Raus family. Zbigniew Raus is a physician of rank with the hospital in Rawitz, and his wife Bozena Raus is curator of the town's museum of art and culture.

1997

christmas

On a Christmas visit I was introduced to the whole family, well most of them.

1997

train

We took the train down to visit Rawicz, which is about two hours south of Poznan. I rode the trains a lot in Poland having made several trips to Rawicz and Poznan via the Gdansk ferry. The train station in Gdansk used to be full of pick-pockets who worked in gangs that would pretend to be a crowd in a train car, They jostle in close to you and in the distractions one will go for your goods. Anyway... I started learning how Poland is all about little villages and towns in the countryside... and that life there is tough.

1997

poland

All around there are reminders that things used to be tougher. In the very early 90's before returning to the States, I spent considerable time in Estonia, where I was going to open a division of my company to build and operate visitors' center... Tallinn is one of the four preserved medieval cities (Gdansk is another) and it is the "gateway to St. Petersburg." The contrasts were great: Poland fared better than Estonia during the Soviet days. But both countries still lived with left over oppression.

1997

poznan

During my Christmas trip to Rawicz, Anna Raus and I got engaged and then went away to the mountains, to the Chata Za Wsia Hotel in Karkonosze, to celebrate New Year's. Anna and I started considering living in Poznan. Real estate prices were affordable with American currency, and the economy was truly booming. Speculators were poised to profit. However, it turned out that you couldn't own anything real if you weren't a Polish citizen, or married to one... and we weren't thinking in those terms yet.

poland

1997

apt

Zbigniew Raus saw the handwriting on the wall and out of a great sense of propriety and generosity built us a conformable room by installing a doorway to create a bedroom out of half of the living room. It was way comfortable compared to staying in the room that Anna had to share with her brother.

1997

dave frey

In the autumn Dave Frey brought me in to help out on one of his gigantic Nike shows. That job gave me enough money to get Anna Raus an engagement ring. Dave was the first person I showed it to because I knew that he would share my excitement in a genuine way. Dave is like that, he knows what is really important...and what is not.

Dave Frey and his company were one of the world's best kept multi-image secrets. He is a private man, secure enough to be very self-effacing. While the rest of AMI were chatting up each other and scuttlebutting about "big" 15- and 30-projector shows, Dave and his crew at Sound Images in Portland was routinely producing shows with 100 or more projectors.

 

1997

sound images

The crew at Sound Images included Derek Jackman and Steve Farris, more or less in charge of staging and technical issues; Dan Quigley on the Maron camera; Dan "Rooter The Shooter" Root (son of Jack Root from the days at AVHQ in LA); and Philip Augustine, a fine-arts photographer in the Andel Adams tradition making ends meet as a production coordinator. My role was designer & programmer.

1997

anna

On one of her visits, Anna came down to see me while I was working on a Sound Images show in Portland. She fell in love with the city and for the first time understood what I did for a living. That's always been a big problem... explaining to people what I do. You can tell that most people just don't get it because not many of them get to see huge AV shows.

1997

skakes

One of the shows I did for Dave Frey at Sound Images involved 110 projectors arranged in an arc consisting of a panorama surrounded by 10 verticals on each side. The row of projectors was so long that I went out and bought roller blades to be able pick up speed. The same thing had happened in England at Purchase Point back in 1978, where Allan Koslowski taught me how to skate in the company's new 10,000-square-foot space.

1998

dinner

Allan Hillburg, shown here with writer Mary Ann Mackin, was Incredible Slidemakers "Client of the Year" back in 1980. But when I left New York we lost track of one another until one fine day at Caribiner when the phone rang... and it was Allan, with a huge international project. Perhaps he wanted to be client of the year again?

 

1998

team

While I was still at Caribiner, Allan Hillburg invited me/us to do a project for Swedish Match. The team included Allan, of course (standing, right). His role was master campaign strategist. Caribiner brought in Mary Ann Makin (standing, left) as writer. My job was Creative Director. We coordinated with Lexivision in Stockholm, Swedish Match's agency, represented by Ulla Ericsson and Rolf Kroon (seated).

1998

swedish match

Film team for the Swedish Match production(s) included myself (standing) as the stills guy with Dave Ogilvie on video, Libby Furnau on sound and Allan Hilburg's cousin-in-law, Steve Micciche (seated, right) as grip and gopher. In this shot we're in Rio... one stop on a round-the-world shoot covering all of Swedish Match's diverse operations. Talk about more meals per mile... I think I put on 20 pounds on that trip, even with all the exercise.

 

1998

doug

Here I am in front of the cafe where "Girl from Ipenema" was written. That song was the musical theme that permeated the atmosphere inside Kurt Boehnstedt's summerhouse out on Long Island in Southampton, New York. The song represented an era in my life, and to find myself in the place where it had been written gave me pause.

1998

map

Libby Furnau holds a map showing our travels for the Swedish Match global shoot. Let's see... Seattle to New York...off to Sweden and all the hell over Europe… all over Brazil… then over to China and Indonesia… and back to LA and Seattle... bazillions of pictures and so much video footage that nobody really knew what to do with it all. And to make matters worse, Lexivision sent over a supervisory staff and so everything got into a pissing contest... That is, pissing money away in meetings and more meetings. Such waste.

1997

match

Libby Fernau, Steve Micciche, Dave Oglevie and myself behind the welcome sign at Swedish Match's Philippine headquarters in Manila.

1997

indonesia

We shot Swedish Match's tobacco growing and cigar rolling operations in Indonesia... that's Bali behind us in the lower shot. When they were passing around the testosterone, Steve got more than his fair share. This was advantageous at the disco in our hotel. Besides, we were Heros... like some space invaders... imagine us in a village of cigar-rolling tootsies. Well, ok, imagine Steve (that was the point).

1997

team

In Shanghai we were joined by "Bing Bing" a Swedish Match guide and translator (seated between Dave and Steve in the upper picture). She had a crush on Steve.

1997

lunch

Lunch break in Java, Indonesia, for the Swedish Match film team.

1998

vashon

I left the Caribiner after the Swedish Match project. As had happened at Basford when I was a young man, I couldn't abide by the layers of management that got in the way of getting things done. So I went back into business for myself, working out of the house on Vashon. The idylls of the Island and the genuine warth and generosity of neighbors like Tom Lorentzen (above) were the real politik. I went back on the freelance circuit.

1998

changes

The global Swedish Match shoot was an epic and, behind the lens, I was in my element. But I was told in no uncertain terms by Caribiner (i.e.., Watts Silverstein) that I was not to shoot, that I was to fly my desk. ...Be an "executive." After all... ahem...I was a Creative Director. Either they didn't get it or I didn't get it, but something had to give. So I resigned my position at Caribiner and watched from afar as the company disintegrated leaving behind an overabundance of multimedia managers.

1996

seppo

Seppo Palminen at Smile AudioVisual in Helsinki, Finland has always occupied a special place in my heart. With the demise of AMI, many formerly close friends were "separated." The show for Scania brought a chance for re-union, for which I was thankful. Seppo went on to host another reunion... a big one for many AMI colleagues. Unfortunately, it was an event that I was unable to attend.

1998

pre nup

Part of the Swedish Match shooting trip involved Poland, so Anna and I went to Rawicz for a visit. Then, Anna came to Vashon for the entire summer. We started to think about marriage and with that a pre-nup which we both proudly signed at the local bank's Notary. Then we hopped in the van and visited Vancouver, BC, a place I hadn't been since 1982.

1998

wedding

Even though we were engaged, we weren't planning on marrying until we could so in Poland with a proverbial "Polish wedding." However, INS (Immigration) truncated the schedule when they became suspicious after finding my business papers in Anna's bag. We needed to clear up that situation because we were supposed to start work in Sweden on a two-year job with Lexivision. They "suggested" that being married would help.

1998

wedding

Her favorite seamstress back in Rawicz, Poland made Anna's wedding dress.

1998

wedding

The shots were made beneath the big cedar tree on the hill in front of the house. The heavens smiled on us with the weather. Anna was a beautiful bride.

1999

neon

Lexivision offered me a Creative Director role in Sweden and I accepted the job. It was supposed to be a two-year job, so Anna and I packed up the house and moved to Stockholm. But the company was in trouble and closed its doors a few months later. While there, I took the opportunity to hone my PhotoShop skills and made my first big assembly, "Neon Jungle," put together from pix Anna and I had taken in Las Vegas.

 

1999

scania

Miraculously, just as Lexivision fell apart, Scania stepped up to the plate with an offer to produce The Scania Bus International Photo Library. It was a project that I started selling-in five years earlier because whenever we'd do multi-image shows for Scania, they didn't have any good international shots. Finally they agreed and sent Anna and I on a 6-month odyssey shooting in 22 countries around Europe.

1999

scania

900 rolls of negative color film were shot and the best 3000 shots (of 30,000+) were scanned , retouched, and burned into a master digital library, which was then reproduced and distributed to Scania offices and agencies worldwide.

1999

scania

A few of my favorites from the Scania International Photo Library. Thirteen of the best became the Year 2000 Scania Bus calendar.

1999

scania

A couple of more from the Scania International Photo Library. To get ready for the job, I tested every major type of color film in terms of how well it scanned. The result was Kodak Royal Gold 100 through 400. Fuji was a close seond, but Kodak films could "see into" reds better. If you shot a red rose, for example, there would be more petal detail. Being able to see into black was another important consideration.

1999

scania

From the Year 2000 Scania Bus calendar.

1999

scania

From the Year 2000 Scania Bus calendar.

1999

scania

From the Year 2000 Scania Bus calendar.

1999

watchout

In 1999 I was honored by Dataton to be the keynote speaker at the launch of Watchout. Mike Fahl and I had wistfully talked about "digital slide shows" and I had good-naturedly challenged him to come up with it for the new millenium... he met the challenge. For my part I re-wrote the history of multi-image slide shows in a 15-minute PowerPoint show, which segued into the reveal of Watchout with a five-screen, panoramic demo. Use the start button to play a movie of my keynote address.

1999

photo

Dataton honored me again with a request to write the Introduction to the Watchout Forum. This was in keeping with a tradition of writing and illustrating op-ed pieces for their annual magazine, Dataton News & Views, since 1995. Above is the first splash-page illustration for the article. It never ran because they were changing the dongle style and some felt it might offend women. Hmmmm.

1999

doug

The final splash-page illustration for the Dataton Watchout Forum introduction piece. In the end I liked this piece better than the parrots, anyway. So, there you are.