FRANCIS WU - 1940s AND 1950s PORTRAITS
When he was eight or nine years old, Francis Wu (Cheong Kin) used to spend a weekend in a public park in Honolulu enjoying the scenery, the people and “all the things that appeared strange to me.” One day young Francis came across something “strange” – something he had never seen before. There it was: a sign saying “Your Picture While You Wait” and there was a crowd milling around a man with a big camera.
Young Francis was curious. He mingled with the crowd, waiting patiently for something to happen. In a few minutes, this man tucked his hand into the camera and out came a picture in black and white! Young Francis was stunned and thrilled by this strange feat.
That night young Francis couldn’t sleep, a wink, thinking and wondering about the ”strange thing.” This went on for a couple of nights until finally he heaped up enough courage and made a decision: to buy a folding vest pocket Kodak with his $6.00 savings.
A proud owner of the $6 camera, young Francis immediately bought a roll of film, inserted it into the camera and playfully clicked away. He just couldn’t wait to show his brothers and sisters what his camera could do. He opened his “treasure,” looked at the film, expecting to see the pictures all finished on a “While You Wait” basis, but found to his disappointment that there were no pictures but a roll of blank film.
Francis Wu, who is now one of the world’s top photographers still laughs about the incident. The 38 year old world famous Chinese cameraman recalls nostalgically the kind and generous drug store clerk who gave him a few pointers in photography and let him have access to the store’s photographic laboratory. (from Hongkong Standard, July 21, 1959)
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