Jan 1, 2007
Grizzly Flats: a long time ago and not too far away...
Back around 1983 my childhood buddy Lara Rossignol took this picture of Ward Kimball standing in front of his locomotive at his home. She gave me a mounted copy, and I had it framed. It's a shame I didn't get a better photograph of the photograph, but I wanted to put it up in any case. Suffice to say the actual thing isn't this fuzzy, but this has a certain haunting quality and it's still a great pose. Lara has always had a great eye.
Lara had gone to see Ward on assignment to take a portrait for school(she was at Art Center in Pasadena at the time). She knew about my visits some years earlier to Ward's fabulous home and asked me for his phone number...I told her it was 'in the book', and that cold-calling Ward might result in anything. Fortunately he welcomed the visit and enjoyed the whole experience--as I think this photo shows.
Recently Lara (long since working as a professional fashion and entertainment photographer) told me that she'd not saved any of her proofs or negatives from this visit--this is apparently the only print. A year or two after it was taken yet another friend, Steve Hickner, was working with Ward at Disney feature animation; he was doing a rare consulting job on a TV special for them. Steve had seen this photograph and asked me if I wanted Ward to sign it for me(Steve had a prodigious collection of signed artwork--mostly comics--that he'd amassed for years. I never usually did that sort of thing, which I could kick myself for now). Of course I said I'd love it if it was possible.
I wasn't there when he did; he was apparently surprised to see this and enjoyed it all over again. It says "To Jenny! from Ward Kimball ETC." which was a habitual signature of his.