My photographic memory |

At the age of 21, I quit a cowboy job that paid $ 600 a month to become a field editor for a major herding newspaper that paid $ 850. They gave me a camera and a car and told me to take the road covering a tri-state area devoid of cattle. I was supposed to sell ads, work, write sales reports, and take pictures. I could handle the constant travel, hated selling ads, but could write pretty well. I ended up learning to work in a ring, but the camera remained a foreign object to me. I did not know of an f-stop from a truck stop. Always not. I’ve always hated taking pictures, or having my picture taken.

You could say I have a photographic memory… and the memories are all bad. My least favorite part of the job was going to stock shows, watching the Judgment, and taking pictures of the winners in the hopes of selling commercials afterwards with the pictures I took. Invariably I ended up borrowing decent photos from other traffic officers because my photos never came to light. I ended up quitting because I couldn’t see my life spending my life waiting for a bull to stand up with its ears forward and its hind legs positioned so that it could see its gearbox, so to speak.

When I started in the business in 1973, the preferred flavor was long and high, so when I went to a breeder to take pictures I would lie on the ground looking at the bull to make it look bigger. . It was extremely dangerous work because I could lie down in a red ant hole or fresh cow pie and if a bull choked after chasing it for 45 minutes while waiting for it to set foot on the right track, I was in a particularly vulnerable situation. lying position on the floor. I finally decided that if I had to get run over by bulls for a living, I might as well become a breeder or a rodeo clown and become half famous for something.

I still have nightmares of my worst photographic memory. Now you have to understand that the dream of all good cow photographers is to take a fabulous shot of a very popular bull. You may have noticed that great photographers put their names in their photos directly under, how to say that, right under the bull’s sleeve. (I never put my name in any photos because with my luck the bull would seem to piss all over my name.) Because I lived in the same proximity, I often had the honor of taking photos of can. – to be the largest Hereford bull in America. at the time. If I ever got a good photo my name would appear in all the breeding journals across the country. The bull was affectionately called “Lerch” by its owner, I guess because it looked like it had been put together by a committee. Lerch might have been ugly, but he produced some fabulous offspring including Denver Grand Champions.

Lerch liked to play with me for hours. It takes two and sometimes three people to get a good picture of a cattle. Besides the photographer, there is the fogger who walks behind the bull trying to get him to put his legs back correctly, and the third specialist shakes a box of stones so that the bull advances both ears. (There is nothing uglier than a bull or a horse with one ear back.) On the rare occasion that Lerch put his feet correctly, he put one ear back, or vice versa. I was excited once after a photoshoot with Lerch thinking I had THE PHOTO, so I rushed home and waited for the photos to come back from the drugstore. The photo was a crime against photography. The feet were fair, the ears were forward, but there was a large electric pole jutting out into the middle of him from the ground that made him look like a bull popsicle, or Lerchsicle, as the case may be.

Lerch never got tired of the game or tried to run over me. In fact, we have become the best of friends in the world. Perhaps it was appropriate then that to my knowledge, no one had ever taken a decent photo of Lerch… or of me for that matter.

Michael E. Marquez