Art Babbitt set up his camera to take a time-release photograph of himself(in the center), Fred Moore and their assistant, Larry Clemmons in their space at the Disney Hyperion studio, circa 1932
The New York Times runs a weekly series called "Possessed" where they allow various society doyennes and artist types to write an essay on a particular object they place above all others in their lives. This photograph would be one of mine. It's been with me since 1981, and it has pride of place at every studio I've worked. It hangs now in my office at Dreamworks.
Art Babbitt graciously allowed me to have a negative made from his original. Obviously for an animation artist and a Disney afficionado it's a fascinating picture; what first impressed me was the unbelievably cramped space these men had to share--and two of them were already important artists; that tells you something about the facilities at Disney's at this time. Yet for all the eventual splendor of the Burbank campus(the present site of Disney), most every animator seemed to miss these makeshift quarters, Art included. Crude as it was, they were engaged in making new discoveries on a daily basis.
Their expressions seem uniformly impassive at a glance, but a longer look shows the faint bemusement on Fred's face, the self-possession of Babbitt's, the slightly sullen posture of Larry there in the back, against the wall. This was the first photograph of Moore I'd seen that wasn't a posed studio publicity shot, drawing away in a suit and tie, hair oiled. Here he looks intently out at--the camera, sure, but also across the abyss of time, life and death, success and despair. And he's only 20 years old. Art is 24, Larry is 25.
They're good companions to have on one's wall.
disney, animation, animator