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DAVE SUSSMAN

I visited Dave at his Long Island home one of the Hempstead's (on Long Island) as I recall. There was snow on the ground, I was driving my Econoline Van, I think. I was in my sixties. Dave was my friend.

a mentor, and he gave me my first job in photography.

 

When we met I knew almost nothing about photography but he took a chance and hired me and trained me. I was the darkroom man, assistant and gofer. Mostly it was darkroom work. Hours in the darkroom with a radio. In those days some radio had some things worth listening to. No music except pop and as I was a jazz guy I spent a lot of time listening to talk radio, going between WBAI FM and WOR AM. My great achievement in the darkroom was the ability to develop 100 8 x 10 inch prints at one time and dry them glossy. You could not see a difference between the first and last print.

 

Dave owned Marci Studio on East 23rd St. in New York City across the street from Madison Square Park where once had stood the original Madison Square Garden. Marci was a commercial studio. Dave did product shots, portraits (author photos, his was not a portrait studio.), architecture, fashion and what ever job came in the door. He had superb technique and an understanding of the physics and chemistry of photography. He knew the art photographers of the day and at least once met Edward Weston. Dave's composing of his personal photography was excellent.

 

A modest but knowledgeable man. he would answer any question in way more detail then I would want. After a while these "excesses" information started to make sense. And, after a while I got to be able to incorporate these shortcuts techniques and insights into my own work. He was a very patient boss and teacher. I'm sure I made every possible mistake in photography, often more than once.

 

Dave tolerated my experimenting with various films and papers and developers and would use any information that would be a benefit to him. Using different cameras and of different sizes he put up with my questioning and put up with my friends coming to see me and hang out at work. He even used some of them and once had Larry as a model to illustrate a magazine article about drug abuse!

 

Dave's memory is that I started working for him in 1959, the year I arrived in New York and I was 21 years old with an honorable discharge from the army. I stayed until 1968 when I left to make a long trip to Mexico and California. I was gone 9 months.

 

At his Hempstead house he was a widower and he was leaving this house full of memories. He told me on the phone that he could never pay me what i was worth and he would leek me to have some of the photographic equipment that wouldn't take with him.

 

He was a great commercial photographer who could do anything but make a good living. Sometimes I would have two or even three paychecks  in my wallet that I couldn't cash because his clients had not paid Dave.When we started out he was my teacher and after a couple of decades we became peers. And friends. He even came to see my very large one man show at the Catskill Art Society in Hurleyville, NY. He had brought some of his prints to show me and I could see that he was a bigger influence on my personal work than i realized. I think of him often.

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