Rick Hunter’s Wake: A Film Odyssey

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Vintage Yashica MAT-124 twin-reflex camera. Photo by Page Graham

Vintage Yashica MAT-124 twin-reflex camera. Photo by Page Graham.

Page GrahamRick Hunter was quite simply the best photographer I have ever had the opportunity to meet. He had an eye for composition and color -- talents that can be honed but cannot be acquired.

His works have a striking quality to them, real yet surreal. You know it when you see one of Rick's photos – they're unique in a way that's hard to describe in words.

Rick Hunter could often be found here at Tito's Mexican Restaurant. Photo by Page Graham.

Rick Hunter could often be found here at Tito's Mexican Restaurant. Photo by Page Graham.

Rick, who passed away in an untimely manner on Nov. 8, was simply a fascinating person. He could make acquaintances feel like they were close friends. Rick was well-known throughout the Southtown community, and was often to be found at his favorite hangouts, places like Tito's Mexican Restaurant and La Tuna. He was always ready to talk about a variety of subjects, politics amongst them.

Maverick Hunter talks to Mike Casey at Rick Hunter's wake. Photo by Page Graham.

Maverick Hunter talks to Mike Casey at Rick Hunter's wake. Photo by Page Graham.

Last weekend, a public wake was held in Rick's honor at the site of the original Friendly Spot – a small building at the corner of South Alamo and Beauregard that now stands empty. Inside the building, an altar was set up, containing several of Rick's photos, along with a memorial book for attendees to sign. A pleasant afternoon was spent sharing tales and remembrances of Rick, of which there are many. Members of his family were in attendance – I had to opportunity to meet his son Maverick. Needless to say, the resemblance between father and son is striking indeed.

Vintage Yashica MAT-124 twin-reflex camera. Photo by Page Graham

Vintage Yashica MAT-124 twin-reflex camera. Photo by Page Graham.

As a photographer, Rick never made the transition from film to digital. His tool of choice was a classic Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera. In honor of him, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to photograph the wake using only film. So I dusted off my 1960's-vintage Yashica, a Japanese-made camera of similar design. I also brought along a 35mm "lomography" kit camera -- it only cost $15.00, and the photos are blurred at the edges. But that's the whole idea behind lomography.

Tami Kegley taking a photo using a lomography camera. Photo by Page Graham.

Tami Kegley (center) taking a photo using a lomography camera. Photo by Page Graham.

This camera got passed around to others to try, but most shots taken with it were taken by Tami Kegley.

The results were mixed. Shooting with film is not a simple feat. For starters, one doesn't find out what the photos look like until they come back from the photo lab, and twin-lens cameras are tricky to use because the viewfinder shows a darkened mirror image. In any case, it turns out the old Yashica has cataracts (for lack of a better technical term), which ended up giving the photos a dreamlike quality. The lomography shots also have a surrealness to them. Perhaps that's fitting of the occasion.

In the slideshow, the rectangular, color photos are from the lomography camera, and the square, sepia-toned images were taken with the Yashica.

RIP Rick Hunter, you will be missed.

 

Page Graham has been a resident of San Antonio – on and off – for over 30 years now. After college he got his start at KWEX-TV 41/Univision as a videotape operator. Before he knew it, he was working in the production department as a Technical Director.  Since that time, he has moved into the corporate world, making a living developing training materials and Powerpoint presentations and all that stuff we need to do in order to make a living. But now he’s back – aqui en el corazón de San Antonio – enjoying life to its fullest. His goal is to share the amazing experiences that are all around us. This city has grown and matured, and it’s time for all of us to be proud of our home. Read more at www.artblogsa.com.

 

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6 thoughts on “Rick Hunter’s Wake: A Film Odyssey

  1. I’ve come late to the news of Rick’s death and am baffled by this piece. No comments from friends, relatives, partygoers, bartenders? No pictures to show what made Rick’s work special? No anecdotes to show what made Rick himself special? No pictures of RICK? There’s more about the blogger in the tagline than there is about Rick in the whole story. Great idea to relate to him via the lens, but it seems to be a tribute piece to someone else.

    • I’m sorry you hadn’t heard about this sooner. Rick Hunter died late in 2013. There were numerous news articles at the time about his passing. This article was intended only as an adjunct to the news stories — a homage of sorts. The wake was a small, semi-private gathering in which I was a participant due to my acquaintance with Rick…

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