Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Matinee: 'For The Love Of It' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

16 September 2017

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 205th in our series of Saturday matinees today: For The Love Of It.

This two-minute clip by Steve Babuljak tells the story of Willi Maier's 50-year career repairing cameras. And we've been sitting on it for months.

At the beginning of the video, we hear him leaving a message on a customer's answering machine for a routine cleaning and repair. The light meter should be adjusted, he advises. Total cost: $80.

He tells his story briefly.

He has worked in a camera factory and has made prototypes of cameras. He's been a mechanical engineer since he was a child, he says, working with cameras since 1954. He left Germany to come to San Francisco in 1965, answering an ad to work for Adolph Gasser.

He expected to spend a year here. Suddenly it's 51 years later, he laughs.

He expected to spend a year here. Suddenly it's 51 years later, he laughs.

He started Studio Camera Repair on Powell St. in 1967. And later, semi-retired, worked out of San Rafael before returning to Gassers before it closed, working just four hours a week.

Coming from a family of clock workers, precision runs in his blood. He couldn't stop ticking.

"Please Keep This Machine Covered When Not In Use," says a hand-lettered sign on his work bench. He didn't write the warning for himself, you can be sure. But he's the only one left to read it.

It's become a disposable world. We don't repair, we replace. It's an upgrade.

But everything in this world breaks. And sometimes what breaks can't be replaced. That's when we tear our hair out in despair.

A few saintly souls still take this in stride. They know how to fix what has broken. We run to them in a panic. They keep our world spinning.

Don't let the brevity of this short tribute to one of those miracle workers mislead you. It is long overdue.

BackBack to Photo Corners