Back in those ancient days when cameras still required film, Bob Lickter, the staff photographer of The Nevada City Independent, would often find he had a few empty frames to fill at deadline time. The news couldn’t wait for Bob to finish the roll: it must be developed immediately if he wanted the first shot to make the afternoon edition.
This was a fairly common occurrence, so we had plenty of posed staff photos. Dozens of them. This led to the crew finding new positions and situations for Bob to waste his remaining shots on. Being an innovative and creative bunch, it became a contest to see what weird poses we could invent at the spur of the moment.
So one bright Wednesday afternoon I emerged from the chemically-scented darkroom to find Robert looking around for something to immortalize with his final shot. I immediately ran out of the office and dove into a pile of garbage in front of the dumpster in the parking lot. Maybe breathing all those fumes made me do it. I don’t know, but it felt right at the time.
True to his profession, Bob captured the moment in all its squalid glory. The staff and a few startled pedestrians gave me a standing ovation, then it was off to develop the roll and finish the issue before the ever-looming deadline. He made this print especially for me. I will always treasure it.
The Union is reporting that Bob Wyckoff, longtime local newsman and founder of The Independent, has passed away at age 85. Most of his life was dedicated to the recording of Nevada County’s rich history. Fare thee well, old amigo.