Of another's life.
All of us have a story - some witness it and thereby witness our life. Some of us simply read of another's life - and even without knowing them it can be a touching tribute to humanity in general... of how we are loved by the people who witness our life: our family, our friends... and how valuable each memory we make from childhood to adult is in preserving what is good and true and whole in life.
My friend Erica and her mom, Shauna recently gave me the most incredible old German camera. I have been collecting cameras and they knew of my collection. This camera was Shauna's father's - Leon Lee Hofer. And what an exquisite camera it is.
Leon Lee Hofer with one of his cameras.
I asked Shauna to share a little bit of info about her father - the man who owned this camera, here are her words:
- On the day of January 28th in 1960, two cars traveling on a lonely country road met head-on at the top of a hill. The impact took the life of my dad, Leon Lee Hofer age 29.
- He was one of 9 children from a strong German family in South Dakota.
- He met my mother after coming to Bethel College.
- While at Bethel he was active in music and captain of the Varsity Quartet. He was editor and photo editor of the yearbook. He was the first Bethel graduate to be deceased.
- While living in Flint MI he used his carpentry skills to build a house for my mother and I from the ground up. He was director of music at the Flint Missionary Church as well as youth teacher.
- Being 5 when he died, I don't remember him very well. My older cousins and family that do remember have told me what a handsome man he was.... but more importantly a genuinely nice & funny man that loved the Lord.
- I remember him taking my photo with him after setting his camera on the timer. He also created a faux front page newspaper headline & picture announcing my birth. He set the paper on a table and photographed it. He sent little 3x4 pictures of that image to family. They actually thought it was a true news story.
Although Leon's story was cut short, he had a story - as we each do. Obviously photography was important to him, as was his heritage, he chose a German made camera. :) I believe he had quite a few nice cameras - this Prominent model being one. Life is so short. And can be unexpected. It is important to do the things you love and live it to the fullest. Here is a man who did just that.
I did a little research on these cameras - these memory documenters as I like to call them.
Only around 4,000 of these cameras were made - the Voigtlander Prominent 6x9 roll film camera were manufactured from 1923-1936. It was the best roll film camera made by Voigtlander, it included a split-image rangefinder.
is an optical company founded by Johann Christoph Voigtländer in Vienna in 1756 and is thus the oldest name in cameras. It produced the Petzval photographic lens (the fastest lens at that time: f/3.7) in 1840, and the world's first all-metal daguerrotype camera () in 1841, also bringing out plate cameras shortly afterwards. The company issued stock in 1898, and a majority of the shares were acquired by Schering in 1925.