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With his mother’s simple box camera Bob began taking photographs in 1963 as a student at Regina Mundi Minor Seminary in London Ontario . For three years he made a record of school life.

In 1966, he attended F.J. Brennan High School in Windsor where he was a member of the camera club. His father’s Pentax SV was a definite improvement in equipment. The family had no car so photographic “expeditions” were limited to trips with friends or locations accessible by bus. The riverfront and Detroit skyline with its sunsets provided inspiration and then there were the ships that occasionally docked at Dieppe Park . In November, Bob met Lynda Fowkes, the love of his life.

While attending the University of Windsor , Bob had a very liberating experience. He modeled nude for life drawing classes. This gave him an appreciation for the feelings of the young women that would soon be posing in front of his camera. It also put him in contact with Beulah, another model and she agreed to sit for him. He knew nothing about posing but with her help they got through that first sitting. In the gallery “Nudes you will see “First Nude”.

Bob photographed his second nude on the beach at Point Pelee. She didn’t mind posing but preferred that the pictures be kept private so that she would not be identified. “Repose” is taken from an angle that preserves the integrity of the agreement while showing the beauty of the subject.

In 1969, Bob and Lynda suffered a crushing blow. Lynda was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Against the advice of family, friends and the family doctor, Bob refused to leave. Married in 1971, Bob and Lynda have two daughters; they ride together on a side by side tricycle and while Lynda sometimes uses a cane, a walker, a scooter or a wheelchair, she is still walking and very much alive.

            In 1972, Ken Saltmarche, the curator at Willistead saw “Repose” and another image taken by Pope and invited him to display his work at Art in the Park. An offer to purchase “Repose” for $50 was turned down as the whereabouts of the negative was a mystery. It was later found but alas, too late for what would have been his first sale. Had he sold it, he would have avoided the wrath of his mother who was none too pleased when she visited his booth with women from her art class. She didn’t know that he did nudes and referred to his model as a “brazen hussy”. Years later she would peruse his portfolio that contained many more nude images and she would tell him, “Rob, you really do nice work.”

            It was about this time that Bob had another chance encounter that would change his life. He met Spike Bell, a local photographer with a studio on Wyandotte St. Spike encouraged Bob, teaching him to shoot weddings.

In 1973, Bob and Lynda moved to Toronto where Bob enrolled at Ryerson, later switching to Sheridan College in Oakville where he studied for two years and where he photographed a rusted truck. Thus began his sojourn into the field of abstract images. The “Abstracts Gallery is where you will find Decomposition I and II.

            On a Friday afternoon in March of 1975, Bob came home and asked. “How would you like to travel across Canada for the summer?” “Great! When do we leave?” was Lynda’s reply. On June 15 they left for a trip that lasted three and a half months, covered four states, nine provinces, a dozen National Parks and fifteen thousand miles. You will see images from this trip in the Landscapes” gallery.

            Returning to the Toronto area, Bob established Pope Photography, Professional Photographic Service. For the next few years he photographed interiors, architecture, weddings and did public relations and progress photos for the City of Toronto Housing Department. An assignment for Public Works had him photographing cracks in pavement.

            Lynda was working for the publisher McClelland and Stewart and Bob was shooting an author’s reception for them. During the evening he met a young lady and told her about his work. She agreed to pose for him and after three false starts they got together to shoot the pictures that would include “Maid in Lace” and “Lady of the Glen”, two of Bob’s all time favorites. See them in the “Nudes Gallery

            In 1978, Megan was born. With a diaper bag and bottles and driving an old Volkswagen camper, Bob would take her in a “Snuggly” and do progress photos. By 1980 it was decided that since there were plans for another child, Bob should have a job with benefits and a pension. A job as an audio visual tech with the Metropolitan Separate School Board was followed by a career of fifteen and a half years at Bell Canada during which time they moved back to Windsor where Kristin was born. When that ended in 1995 with a “package” Bob moved on, becoming a funeral assistant, a sales rep, a property assessor (again) and a GST Trust Compliance Officer for CCRA. Tired of being down-sized Bob decided it was time to go back to his dream; working in photography. Not that he had been “away “, he had been shooting all along; shooting for his own pleasure, not for a client.

            The business officially started up in August of 2003 as Pope Photography or alternatively as Bob Pope Photography.

            Wanting to do something nice for his young neighbours expecting their first child, Bob photographed the expectant mother. Photographing pregnant women has since become a specialty.

Thirty-one years after his first exhibition, Bob had a show at the Artspeak Gallery in Windsor in August 2003. It was a great success. To see what others had to say about the work, check out “Reviews”. A second show at the same venue was held in April 2004 and was similarly well received.

When Bob graduated from high school in 1968 Mike Chalut wrote in his yearbook, “Keep taking those pictures Bob!” And so he has! Lots of them! And now he would like to share something of his vision with you. Bob and Lynda hope that you enjoy these images as much as they enjoyed acquiring them.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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