The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 86…  Old and New Friends…

Celia became an enthusiastic member of this small family of friends. She stayed at The Kings Head, opposite the shop, whilst Toby and Barney made their preparations for departure. Everything was highly amicable, and all parted on good terms. The brothers asked Charles to recommend them, whenever he could, and he assured them they would have his backing and that of ‘Herby’.

Celia handled her new role with confidence. She dressed well in clothes that suited her slim figure and good looks, was smart on the phone, and handled even difficult customers with ease. The business was busy. Celia kept the shop together. Esme ran all of the admin, but now it was time for Charles to have some help.

‘You must have some help Charles,’ Esme declared, ‘You just can’t go on day and night, taking pictures by day and printing the photographs at night. It’s too much, it’s about time you had an assistant. You need someone in the darkroom.’

It was ‘Gabby’, who turned up, one bright morning, in reply to Charles advertisement for an assistant in the West London Gazette. A sandaled youth, around twenty years of age, and pronouncing a small, if not unattractive, reddish beard, in fact, he was bestowed with a handsome shock of red hair. Gabrielle and Charles liked one another from the word go. ‘Gabby was most interested in the new colour processes coming forward, and felt this may be the way forward.

‘After all’ he said, ‘The Americans are starting to use these processes in their cinema films, such as the likes of George Eastman’s multi-layered colour film and Technicolor’s three colour process.’

‘Look, I know, George Eastman’s Kodak company are about to launch a colour film for family cameras, remarked Charles, ‘But how do we ourselves, turn what we take into colour pictures, when all said an done, we must surely need some very special equipment?’

‘We certainly do Charles, if you can get me the right equipment, I can colour print for you. I’ve studied the American’s well and some French and British pioneers. Give me the chance Charles, and I will prove it to you that it would be good for business.’ Gabby had a conviction that was very obvious of its merits.

‘Look Charles.’ he continued, Please forgive me for saying. To-day, if someone wants a colour photograph, you have to pay a brush artist to vaguely colour a black and white print simply from your recall. That’s not the future, it will never be!

Gabby’s words resonated within Charles thoughts. Gabby was right, yes, this was the time to move forward, and also, a time to call on his old friend ‘Herby’ for a little chat and then perhaps, a visit to his local bank.


About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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