Photos From a Scene: Europe 1968
Last month, I stumbled upon an online listing of an estate sale in Hyde Park of the home of a late Nobel Laureate. Once there, I found out it was the home of Robert Fogel, a husband, father, University of Chicago professor and winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1993. I was completely in awe the entire time I was there, marveling not only at his beautiful four story home, but also at all of his belongings that he had collected over the many years that he lived there.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon a rather large canvas airline bag with an old Pentax Spotmatic, a few lenses, and other accessories and next to that, a box full of smaller boxes of slides. Being a vintage collector and wanna-be seller, the first thing I thought was ‘JACKPOT!’ and bought the contents of the airline bag and some slides with the intention of selling them. When I got home, I did a quick Google search to find out who Robert Fogel was. The more I read about him, the more he felt like a real person to me, not just a face on a photograph. Looking at the slides gave me insight to who he really was, similar to Facebook-stalking someone by looking at their photo albums. I found out that he passed away last June and immediately my heart broke. Here I was, looking around his house as if I was shopping at Walmart in hopes of profiting from the things I bought, all the while without a single thought that the things in his house were not just objects, but his possessions. It made me feel like a jerk. I realized he was a person, and these were his belongings, and they should be treated as such.
I know that having read a few articles about him and looking at his photographs does not make me his friend, and that it is not my place to mourn someone whom I did not know, but I feel like I ought to have some respect. Ultimately, I decided not to sell the camera or any of his photographic gear. In a way, I feel like I inherited them, and I will keep them for the rest of my days as he did.
Here is just a small fraction of his life documented on slides that I uncovered. Someday I hope to give his camera life again and continue documenting adventures to lands near and far.