That Time I Photographed The CCD Inventor

I was digging through my achives looking for an image the other day when I came across one of my favorite images I had made of Nobel Prize winner, George E. Smith in 2005, while on assignment for Black Star. What I did not know at the time I made this image, because we mostly talked about life and sports during the photo shoot, was that Mr. Smith was responsibe for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit – the CCD sensor of which I was photographing him with inside my Nikon D100.

Think about that.
I’m making pictures using a piece of equipment that he had envisioned in 1969. The whole time I was at his house in Toms River, he never mentioned it once.

For those who don’t know about Black Star, it was the first privately owned picture agency in America and is noted for it’s contributions to the history of photojournalism. The agency was formed in 1935 and introduced numerous new techniques in photography and illustrated journalism. It took me a long time to get into that agency.

I had applied to become a Black Star photojournalist early in my career. I was encouragingly rejected by a very nice woman who became one of my good friends. They apparently already had a photog that they represented in the Philadelphia market and did not have room for another. I was told to re-apply after I had some more experience. Years later, that photojournalist who was already represented, who had also befriended me early on, passed away. What I did not know was that he had mentioned me to the higher ups, and when he passed on, they reached out to me and asked if I was still interested in working with them. Hell yes!!

It never occurred to me at the time that I was photographing one of the people responsible for the digital camera I was using while working for the photo agency that revolutionalized photojournalism in the 30’s on.

I’m sitting here thinking about it.
All that’s going through my head is, how fucking cool!?