I have been meaning to sit down and write this for a couple weeks, and Throw back Thursday seems a good time to reminisce of a very distant memory. I learned a few days ago that Science fiction author Gene Wolfe passed away, and I was reminded just how fleeting time seems lately, Back when I was just out of school and before I started my "Artist Within" cartoonist project, I worked for a few years on a project photographing Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. Back then I was still living in L.A. and there were book signings every weekend somewhere in the valley. Also back then (pre-internet) you could find a listing of upcoming signings in The LA Times Book Section. There were usually a handful every weekend. The first few shots of my project were taken at a great science fiction book store called "Dangerous Visions" on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.
These sittings included writers William Gibson,
and Victor Komen.
Within a year of starting the project, I had quite the portfolio of portraits and had made trips as far down as San Diego to the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, and as far north to Santa Barbara, It was a wonderful time of my life, as the world seemed full of possibility and I had plenty of chutzpah.
My plan went as follows: I would call ahead of time and get permission to show up. How I talked myself into the stores is a mystery to me now-it would be impossible these days.. I'd set up a quick backdrop behind where the author would be signing, usually with a small softbox as a key light and a bare head with a grid spot as a rim or background light. The promise was to do the shoot in 15 minutes or less so as not to obstruct the signing. Photographers are well known liars, though, and it always took much longer than expected, which led to us being asked not to come back by miffed booksellers, as we were blocking the check out line with our antics.
Anyway, with that portfolio, and with the help of a bookseller friend named Mike Autry, I managed to get invited to set-up my first "Pop-up studio" at a Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention in Anaheim, ( What was that convention officially called?). I set up in one of the conference rooms, and throughout the day authors would pop in to see what all the flashing lights were all about. Then, like a tiger pouncing I would ask if they would sit for a portrait. Not an author? that was okay, I would shoot whoever walked through the door. Many wonderful writers stopped in including Gene Wolfe. At the time I hadn't actually read any of Gene's work, but have since come to love and appreciate his amazing books and stories.
You may know that Gene Wolfe was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He was noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith. He was a prolific short-story writer and novelist and won many science fiction and fantasy literary awards.
Wolfe is best known for his Book of the New Sun series (four volumes, 1980–83), the first part of his "Solar Cycle". In 1998, Locus magazine ranked it one of the best fantasy novels published before 1990-wikipedia
Wolfe's passing got me thinking about that time in my life, and the things I had in mind to do and the people I wanted to photograph. 30 years have now passed in the blink of an eye. So, it got me a little nostalgic, and I started to wonder where those old negatives of those authors ended up, found them in a box in the garage and dragged out the old Imacon scanner. These are some of the shots from that convention shoot and for good measure, a few of the other authors from that project. It seems like Howard Browne and Nancy Holder were actually photographed at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, and Peter Beagle was photographed here in Las Vegas at a lecture he gave at the community college.
Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster is the author "The Spellsinger series, and more than 20 stand alone novels, and is also known for his Science Fiction books set in the Humanx Commonweath. He was also the Ghost writer of the original novelization of Star Wars with George Lucas, and he also wrote the novelization of the 2009 film Star Trek.
K.W. Jeter is a science fiction and horror author. He has written novels set in the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" universes, and has written three sequels to "Blade Runner"
Vernor Vinge is an American author of Science Fiction and retired professor. He taught computer science and mathematics at San Diego State University. He is the originator of the technological singularity concept and perhaps the first to present a fictional "cyberspace". He has won the Hugo Award for his novels and novellas A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, Rainbows End, Fast Times at Fairmont High, and The Cookie Monster.-wikipedia
Steven Boyette is a writer and electronic dance music DJ. "He sold his first novel, Ariel, at the age of 21, and went on to publish The Architect of Sleep, The Gnole (with illustrator Alan Aldridge), Elegy Beach, a sequel to Ariel, and many short stories and novellas. He has written Ren and Stimpy comics for Marvel and wrote the (uncredited) second draft of Toy Story 2".-with help from wikipedia
Editor and Writer Howard Browne Photographed By Greg Preston
"Howard Browne was an American Science Fiction editor and Mystery Writer. He also wrote for several television series and films.
In Hollywood, Browne wrote for television shows including Maverick, Ben Casey, and The Virginian. His last credit was for the film Capone (1975), starring Ben Gazzara.
Browne's novel Thin Air was twice adapted for television. In 1975 it was used as the basis for a first-season episode of The Rockford Files titled "Sleight of Hand." In 1982 it was the basis for a second-season episode of Simon & Simon of the same name as the novel."-wikipedia
"Nancy Holder is an American writer and the author of several novels, including numerous tie-in books based on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's also written fiction related to several other science fiction and fantasy shows, including Angel and Smallville".
Holder is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in horror writing. She won Best Short Story in 1991 for "Lady Madonna," in 1993 for "I Hear the Mermaids Singing," and in 1994 for "Cafe Endless: Spring Rain." She won Best Novel in 1994 for Dead in the Water."-wikipedia
Peter Beagle is a novelist and screenwriter, know especially for fantasy fiction. His best-known work is "The Last Unicorn", a fantasy novel he wrote in his twenties, which Locus subscribers voted the number five "All-Time Best Fantasy Novel" in 1987. During the last twenty-five years he has won several literary awards, including a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2011. He was named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by SFWA in 2018. - wikipedia