With all those Cats, how did Edward Weston keep his negs & gear clean?

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After the latest battle with Hype & Dektol, our two cats who shed in direct proportion to their proximity to my film holders, anyone know how much time Edward Weston spent cleaning the holders, etc., of cat hair? Not really a serious one, but those of us with animals do find animal hair in the darndest places & times, often just as we are about to shoot.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), June 13, 2000


Dan: If Weston had anything like the problem I had with cat hair, the time required was considerable. Our old cat, which we had for many years, became attached to my camera bag in her later years. If I returned from a shoot and did not immediately put the bag in a closet and close the door, she would climb on it and go to sleep. I don't know what her attachment was for the bag. It was a canvas bag, and the cat hair worked its way through the fabric. I never found a vaccuum cleaner that can suck cat hair out of canvas. I finally gave the bag to the cat and got another one to hold my film holders and gear. I made some beautiful negatives with outlines of cat hair, despite my efforts at cleaning out the holders every time I loaded them. Can you imagine what one cat could do to Kodak, Ilford or Fuji if it got loose in the film manufacturing part of the plant? No doubt it would put them out of business.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), June 13, 2000.

Cats are the only animal perpetrators. We have a dog that is an Australian Shepard/Alaskan Husky mix. He leaves hair everywhere he goes.

The best solution for keeping pet hair out of your photography gear is to have a seperate building for your business. This isn't financially feasible for most of us though. I keep my photo gear stashed in a seperate bedroom which serves as my home office. The hairy dog is not allowed in there, and the door stays closed. That's one advantage does have over cats. You ever try to teach a cat to not go into a specific room? You ever tried to teach a cat anything?

Fuji Quickload and Kodak Readyload holders seem the best line of defense against pet hair, though. Yes, they're expensive, but I hate dust and I'm too lazy to keep regular holders clean.

-- Darron Spohn (dspohn@photobitstream.com), June 13, 2000.

The cats have been banned from my darkroom for 15 years, and I try to stow my gear where the cats can't sleep on it. It's a serious problem, but no more so than dust in a dry environment like the Southwest.

-- (edbuffaloe@unblinkingeye.com), June 13, 2000.

I don't know.

I think maybe humidity has somethint to do with it. With 18 cats, I've never had a problem with hairy holders.

I do have a lot of cleaning to do prior to and during printing. Wet fiber based prints suck cat hair out of the air for a distance of 2 miles it seems. I have taken a metal storage cabinet and turned it inot my print drying rack so I can close the prints off a s much as possible while they dry.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), June 13, 2000.

Just dip all the cats, once a week, in a bucket of used motor oil....

-- C. W. Dean (cwdean@erols.com), June 13, 2000.

Dan, I saw once something you could inspire from: "Save a tree: Eat a beaver!"

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), June 13, 2000.

I'd guess that Weston's wooden filmholders generated less static than the modern plastic ones, but he was always complaining about having to straighten the warped ones.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), June 13, 2000.

If I remember right from the Day Books he spent a lot of time retouching for a variety of reasons. Maybe this was one of the unmentioned ones.

-- Marv (mthompsonn@home.com), June 13, 2000.

I've got a Newfoundland with more fur than 30 cats. Never had a dog hair problem yet, and he's been along on every photo trip I've taken for 12 years.

-- Wayne (wsteffen@mr.net), June 14, 2000.


I have a Siberian Husky (read lots and lots of hairs everywhere) and 3 long hair cats but don't have probs yet.(shhhh) I keep all my gears in hard case which stashed in my dark room when not in use. For holders I bought a hard case for it plus all the individual holders in individual ziplock. The treatment is similar to all kind of dust, dirt etc... Good luck.

-- dan nguyen (dan@egmail.com), June 14, 2000.

This is kind of a derivation of the original question, but does anybody have any idea what he named some of his cats? I'm just curious if the great master was as good at naming his pets as he was at creating great photographs.

Just a thought...

-- Dave Munson (orthoptera@juno.com), June 15, 2000.

We have six cats. One loves to sleep on any camera bag and sheds all over them. The bags don't look too good when they're covered in cat hair but I haven't had any hair get inside the bag or into the equipment. I try to get rid of the hair on the outside of the bags by occasionally cleaning the bag with those sticky roller things normally used to remove lint from clothing. It works pretty well but it takes some time. Another cat likes to sleep on the enlarger easel, underneath the plastic cover. I haven't noticed any major cat hair problems from this in the dark room but then I do clean the dark room fairly often.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis@tampabay.rr.com), June 15, 2000.

I believe he published a book called The Cats of Wildcat Hill, but I've never seen it and dont know if any were named in it. He does name a few in some of his later writings, after Brett hauled them all out and shot them for trashing the house. This was when he was in pretty bad shape with Parkinson's.

-- Wayne (wsteffen@mr.net), June 15, 2000.

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